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Perry's Widespread Appeal In Texas Perry's Widespread Appeal In Texas

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Politics / Politics

Perry's Widespread Appeal In Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Election Night.(Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

August 15, 2011
He's not an immigration hardliner, and has performed well among Hispanic voters in his home state. A solid 38 percent backed him over White, and among those who believe illegal immigrants should receive a pathway to citizenship, Perry won 42 percent of the vote. All told, the numbers present a picture of a governor who at the end of three full terms has broad appeal in his home state - among both the managerial and populist class. It's also important to underscore that just because he's broadly popular in Texas doesn't automatically mean it will translate across the country. Perry's demographic splits in Texas are similar to Arizona Sen. John McCain's in the 2008 presidential race (both won 55 percent of the vote), and we know how he performed nationwide against President Obama. The one notable number that could be a warning sign - he's long relied on heavy support from the state's evangelical base. Among the third of the electorate who are born-again evangelicals, Perry won a whopping 84 percent of the vote. Among non-evangelicals, he tallied only 42 percent. His biggest test early on will be to prove he can compete in non-evangelical states - namely, New Hampshire, one of the most secular Republican electorates in the country. His campaign's focus on the state suggests he feels he can compete and if he can, the concern over his ability to win over suburbanites is probably overstated. If he sinks in New Hampshire, though, it would raise credible concerns about his general election appeal.
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