Perry's Widespread Appeal In Texas
My column this week sounded a bullish note on the primary and general election prospects of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the latest Republican presidential flavor of the month, but one who looks to have real staying power.
The prevailing conventional wisdom currently is that Perry, with his Texas swagger and outspoken conservatism, is a solid candidate but will have challenges appealing to the suburban, independent voters who traditionally decide elections. Indeed, his biggest challenge is whether he can appeal to what my colleague Ron Brownstein has defined the "managerial class" - white-collar, college-educated voters who may blanche at some of the more conservative elements within the Republican party.
A look at exit polls in his most recent campaign for governor of Texas, though, shows he performed very competitively among the managerial class in his 2010 campaign against Democrat Bill White, a Houston mayor with strong business bona fides himself.
Perry handily won the college-educated and postgraduate demographic, winning 56 percent. In fact, he was one of the few Republican candidates in any state to win over postgraduates, who traditionally vote heavily for Democrats. He won 56 percent of the independent vote, which makes up about one-third of the Texas electorate, though he had little crossover appeal, winning 5 percent of Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans.
He dominated in the suburbs, winning 60 percent of the vote, and performed well for a Republican in the cities, capturing 43 percent against a popular Houston mayor. Cities in Texas are somewhat more Republican than in other more liberal states, but his tally is still a solid showing.