AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry insists that he has no intention of running for president, and that's apparently just fine with a strong majority of his fellow Texans, according to a newly released poll conducted for the Star-Telegram and other major newspapers.
The survey shows that 61 percent of Texans do not want to see the state's longest-serving governor run for president in 2012. Pollsters said the survey findings did not necessarily signal lack of confidence in Perry's presidential credentials but may be more of an indication that many voters want him to stay where he is.
The poll, conducted by Blum & Weprin Associates of New York, measured support for Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the state's top two Republican officeholders, who collided in the 2010 Republican primary race that Perry ultimately won.
Perry, who will be inaugurated for an unprecedented third four-year term this month, had a 50 percent approval rating among all voters and 73 percent among Republicans. The findings were less encouraging for Hutchison, who had the approval of 44 percent of Texas adults and 56 percent among Republicans. Pollster Mickey Blum said Hutchison's relatively low approval rating in her own party suggests that she could be vulnerable in the primaries if she runs for re-election in 2012.
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"Right now, she looks vulnerable -- she really does," said Blum, who is president of the polling organization.
The Perry-Hutchison primary battle was one of the showcase confrontations of the 2010 political season, matching two giants of the Texas Republican Party. Hutchison's loss was initially seen as a political career-killer, but she is now thought to be considering seeking another Senate term. Her spokeswoman, Courtney Sanders, did not know when Hutchison will make her decision.
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