by Ari Auber, The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune is a TownSquareBuzz content sharing partner.
Likely voters in Texas approve of President Barack Obama almost as much as they approve of Gov. Rick Perry, according to the third and final release of poll results from the Texas Lyceum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of civic leaders.
Since October, when the last Lyceum survey was conducted, Perry's approval rating has remained steady at 54 percent, while Obama's has increased from 47 to 51 percent. Even though Obama's handling of the national economy specifically — which is the top concern of Texans, according to Tuesday's findings — dropped to 46 percent, this percentage was eight points lower in October, at 38 percent. University of Texas Professor Daron Shaw, who conducted the poll with the assistance of University of Texas at San Antonio Professor Amy Jasperson, said the timing of the poll might be why Obama scored so high among likely voters. Taken between May 24 and May 31, the poll came three weeks after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, which "undoubtedly increased" likely voters' support of the president.
Less popular with likely voters is the Texas Legislature, which they rated 12 points higher in October. Forty-nine percent are OK with the job the Texas Legislature is doing; 46 percent are not happy.
Likely voters' thoughts on the 2012 presidential contenders and the Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate primary are less decisive. Twenty-two percent of the 147 likely voters who said they planned to vote in the Republican presidential primary next March — out of a total of 310 likely voters surveyed — had not given enough thought to the race to say who they would support. Of the ones who had made an early choice, 16 percent favored former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14 percent settled on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and 10 percent liked U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, best. Although Perry had emphatically declared he was not running for president at the time of the poll, 9 percent of likely voters supported him. Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty received 8 and 7 percent, respectively.
Likely voters are even more indecisive on the two U.S. Senate primary races. More than 50 percent of Republican primary voters had not devoted much thought to their choice, although Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst leads the pack of possibles at 27 percent.
Only 103 of the 310 likely voters polled said they planned to vote in the Democratic primary in March, and of those, three-fifths said they had not thought much about who to pick for the U.S. Senate. Former Congressman Chris Bell, at 9 percent, had the most support, followed by former Texas Comptroller John Sharp at 6 percent.
These results come on the tails of findings about current hot topics in the state Legislature, including gambling, abortion and campus carry, which the Lyceum released yesterday. Some of these findings suggest that Texans and likely voters alike do not agree with the decisions the Texas Legislature has made.
Continue reading about Texas likely voters' opinions on gambling, abortion and more at The Texas Tribune.
Photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera