Perry Leads White by Nine in Statewide Poll

Gov. Rick Perry holds a nine-point lead over his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White, according to a University of Texas at Austin/Texas Tribune poll of 800 Texas voters taken this month.

Perry is backed by 44 percent of respondents while White has the support of 35 percent, with 15 percent undecided and 7 percent saying they would opt for someone else in the upcoming November election. Perry's support tracks closely with his statewide favorability rating: 42 percent of respondents say they approve of Perry's performance as governor, compared with 39 percent who disapprove.

Texans are far less supportive of President Barack Obama. Half of the respondents say they strongly disapprove of Obama's performance as president with another 8 percent saying they somewhat disapprove and only 35 percent saying they support the president.

"You take all of this together and you're seeing the solidification of anti-Washington sentiment trumping anti-incumbency," says pollster Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at The University of Texas at Austin and a lecturer in the Government Department. "You've already seen the Perry campaign trying to identify White with this -- they're obviously looking at the same thing."

The poll has a margin of error of 3.46 percent. It was conducted May 14-20.

Republican candidates hold double-digit leads over their Democratic opponents in every other statewide election included in the poll, including lieutenant governor and attorney general, and in hypothetical Congressional and legislative races.

However, when a Tea Party candidate is included in the hypothetical Congressional race it takes significant support from the Republicans. The Democratic candidate comes out ahead, with 33 percent, compared to 23 percent for the Tea Party candidate and 19 percent for the Republican.

"This looks pretty much like a statewide election in Texas looks. It doesn't look like some huge Republican tide, but it doesn't look like a Democratic renaissance, either," says Government Professor Daron Shaw, who oversaw the poll.

This is the third in a series of online polls conducted jointly by the Texas Politics Project and the Texas Tribune. The poll results and methodology will be available at the Texas Politics Project Web site this week.