Ron Paul for U.S. Senate?
Public Policy Polling has published a follow-up to their numbers released Tuesday that showed all Texas Republicans in a strong position to hold the seat now belonging to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) when she retires in 2012. Wednesday, they detailed GOP voters’ preferences for the primary to replace Hutchison.
The candidate that pundits have bandied about as the front runner unsurprisingly finished first in the poll. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst finished with 23-percent support in the poll. In their examination of potential general election match-ups, PPP showed that Dewhurst held the highest name recognition and had the widest margins over Democrats than the other three GOP candidates included.
The unexpected finisher among Republican voters was U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who finished a close second behind Dewhurst with 21 percent. Paul has not indicated that he is contemplating a Senate run — instead he appears more likely to mount another presidential bid in 2012 — but he is a popular figure among Texas GOPers. Paul even finishes tied with Mitt Romney for fourth in the poll’s measure of 2012 Republican presidential contenders with 10 percent, only trailing Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is Texas Republicans’ third favorite option according to the poll, gathering 14 percent. None of the other possible candidates passed the double-digit margin, as U.S. Rep. Joe Barton placed fourth, with seven percent, ahead of other candidates — including former Railroad Commission Chair Michael Williams and former solicitor general Ted Cruz — who have already made it clear they intend to seek the nomination.
PPP surveyed 400 “usual Texas Republican primary voters” producing a +/-4.9 percent margin of error. The poll was conducted between Jan. 14-16, just days after Hutchison announced her intentions to retire from the U.S. Senate when her current term expires.