Perry Maintains Lead in Texas Governor's Race

Perry Maintains Lead in Texas Governor's Race

By Scott Conroy - August 23, 2010

Incumbent Republican Rick Perry is holding on to an eight-point lead in the Texas gubernatorial race against Democratic challenger Bill White, the former Mayor of Houston, according to a Rasmussen poll released on Monday.

The poll showed that Perry held the support of 49 percent of likely voters, while 41 percent said they planned to vote for White. Seven percent of those surveyed were undecided, and 3 percent supported another candidate.

The new numbers align closely with the results of a previous Rasmussen poll conducted in July, which showed Perry leading White by a margin of 50 percent to 41 percent.

The race has long been an uphill climb for White, a Democrat running in a dark-red state against Perry, who succeeded George W. Bush as governor in 2000 and was elected to two full terms in 2002 and 2006.

Fifty-five percent of those polled approved of the job that Perry is doing as governor, while 45 percent disapproved.

White's Democratic Party label has proven particularly hard for him to shake in a state where only 34 percent of voters approve of the job that President Obama is doing, while 65 percent disapprove, according to Rasmussen.

When President Obama flew to Texas earlier this month for two fundraisers and an education policy speech, it was Perry, rather than White, who was there to greet him on the tarmac when Air Force One touched down in Austin. White was off campaigning in the western part of the state, unwilling to face the political consequences of appearing in public with the president.

The Dallas Morning News on Monday reported that Back to Basics PAC, a Democratic group that has hit Perry with a series of television ads, will take to newspapers statewide on Tuesday to challenge Perry's character in a bluntly Texan style. The full-page ads will feature a black and white photograph of Perry with the word "Coward" superimposed on the bottom of the page.

"Tell Rick Perry to stop cowering and face Texas like a man," the PAC-funded ad taunts.

White has repeatedly challenged Perry to debate, but the Perry campaign has declined to accept, calling for White to first release his tax records from his time as deputy energy secretary in the 90s.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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