Post-presidential campaign, Perry's approval ratings drop

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Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pauses during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, where he announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich. His son Griffin is at left.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Following his failed presidential bid, Governor Rick Perry’s approval ratings have fallen below President Obama’s among Texans, according to a new phone survey.

The Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle and several other publications commissioned a randomized survey of 806 Texans, conducted Jan. 21 to Jan 24. by Blum & Weprin Associates Inc. Forty percent of Texans approved of Perry’s job performance while 43 percent of Texans approved of President Obama’s job performance.

The survey also found 37 percent of Texans think Perry’s presidential bid has made their own view of Perry less favorable, and 53 percent of Texans believe Perry should not run for re-election in 2014. Forty-five percent of Texans believe Perry’s presidential bid has damaged America’s image of Texas either a little (20 percent) or a lot (25 percent). The margin of error was listed at 3.5 percent.

“You can’t go on the road for five months and perform poorly for four of those months and it not have an effect on your image,” said Ben Philpott, senior reporter for KUT-FM Radio, who has been following Perry since his first campaign for governor. “He didn’t do well, people knew he didn’t do well and it’s in the back of peoples’ heads when they are asking about approval in a poll like this.”

Perry’s second lowest approval rating came in 2010, when 44 percent of registered voters approved of Perry’s job performance and 38 percent disapproved. The first survey in the 10-year series, conducted in 2002, put Perry’s highest approval ratings at 65 percent of registered voters.

His influence in the next legislative session is yet to be seen, Philpott said, and his poor performance on the national stage may alter his role within the Texas government.

“His relationship with the legislature could certainly change,” Philpott said. “He could attempt to come back and reclaim whatever role he had in the last session, or the legislature could decide that he’s not going to lead the charge. We haven’t begun to hear from lawmakers about what they are going to accept in terms of guidance.”

Perry can still repair his image in Texas in the coming weeks, despite the lack of interest in the GOP race, Philpott said.

“He’s going to start giving speeches next week, and rolling out platform,” Philpott said.

“He’ll start being the governor again and not just a candidate. He has time to do things that will get people back on his side, but I think we still have to see if lawmakers are interested in him reasserting his role. But there’s plenty of time.”

However, Perry election spokesman Ray Sullivan said he thinks lowered poll numbers will not change Perry’s role in government.

“Governor Perry leads based on his conservative philosophy and what is best for Texas jobs and quality of life, not poll numbers,” Sullivan said. “In 2009, some polls shows him far behind but he went on to defeat strong Republican and Democratic challengers by wide margins.”

Sullivan said the presidential bid has helped Texas’s image around the country, despite the low approval rating.

“The presidential campaign let even more Americans know about Texas’ pro-job climate, great quality of life and culture of fiscal responsibility,” Sullivan said.

College Republicans president and government senior Cassie Wright said she thinks the poor ratings did not affect Perry’s record within the state of Texas.

“The past few months have not changed his outstanding economic record in the state of Texas,” Wright said. “We elected Governor Perry based on his successes and his ability to lead; neither his track record nor competence has changed.”