Texas In 2016: Hillary Beats Rick Perry?

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At some point, Texas will give up its status as a GOP guarantee. That seems the consensus, at least. A burgeoning Hispanic population, increasing transplants from California and New York, and a youth bubble surpassed by only Utah -- all signs point toward an eventual purpling of this putative Republican stronghold.

And that may yet come to pass. But it shouldn't hit for a while, right? Despite Democratic murmurs, Texas should remain a deeper shade of rouge through 2016, at least. This, also, seems the consensus. This helps quell that unpleasant metallic taste in the back of Reince Priebus's mouth every time he takes a glance at demographic charts.

But a Public Polling Policy survey, released Thursday, may see the GOP heads reaching for whatever Alka-Seltzer remains from last November. Because instead of focusing on fringe states like North Carolina, Ohio, and Montana, it seems that Preibus and Co. may need to pay more attention than they were hoping to to the Lone Star State.

It turns out that, if Hillary Clinton earns the Democratic nomination, a plurality of Texans would rather vote in the first female president than saddle up with the Republican nominee. According to PPP's poll --an automated survey of 500 Texans from Jan. 24-27 -- the state's voters prefer Clinton to Florida Senator Marco Rubio 46-45 percent. Chris Christie, New Jersey's governor, also falls short, with Clinton staking a 45-43 percent advantage.

But whither Rick Perry? The man -- God willing -- learned a lesson or three from his 2012 flameout; wouldn't voters like to offer a second chance?

Ah, well -- no. Clinton trounces Perry in the potential matchup, taking down The Derp 50-42 percent. This makes all the more sense when you realize that 70 percent of those polled would prefer to see Perry not risk another presidential campaign, and thus brand another round of "Oops" on his electorate. (Of especial note is the fact that more self-proclaimed conservatives than liberals would prefer him not to run.)

Even more remarkably -- more than fact that Jerry Jones still maintains a lower favorability rating than Lance Armstrong -- is that Perry, among the posited GOP contenders, isn't simply playing catch-up with Rubio and Christie. Perry tied for seventh out of nine potential candidates, joining Louisiana Governor Bobby "Creationism!" Jindal with only four percent preferring his nomination. Those besting Perry include Kentucky Senator, and noted anti-desegregationist, Rand Paul; Romney-smirched Paul Ryan; Chick-fil-A Ombudsman Mike Huckabee; and, well, "Someone else/Undecided."

Now, yes: PPP has, over the past elections, tended to skew Democratic. But the previous Election Day -- while whipsawing Gallup and exposing Rasmussen -- seemingly vindicated PPP as one of the most accurate pollsters in business. And, of course, four years present a host of opportunities for both growth and embarrassment. Rubio could turn out to be a closet Castroist; Christie could decide he'd like to enroll in culinary school; Perry could find success concocting some bolo-belt for those who simply don't know where to hang all of their spare automatic clips. Point is, this poll likely sheds as much light on the 2016 race as whichever music festival Onion Biden decides to streak through.

Still, Texas is sliding. And if this is the first of a series of polls that affirms Clinton's popularity in Ol' Red, 2016 could be far more interesting than most had imagined.

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