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POLITICS: PennAve

Wendy Davis on the rise but way behind Rick Perry in Texas

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Beltway Confidential,Steve Contorno,Texas,Abortion,PennAve,Analysis,Wendy Davis,Rick Perry

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis may be a rising star in Democratic circles for her marathon filibuster that temporarily blocked an anti-abortion measure from passing in a special legislative session. But the Lone Star state is still Gov. Rick Perry’s to lose.

A new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday shows Davis’ name recognition and favorables are through the roof in the days since her filibuster garnered national attention. Of those polled, 39 percent had a positive opinion of the lawmaker, while just 29 percent viewed her negatively, a 14-point swing from January when she had a -4 favorability rating.

But Perry, a Republican, still easily tops Davis in a head-to-head race for governor next year, with a 53 to 39 lead over the two-term senator. That’s despite Perry’s underwater approval ratings in the state and the fact that 60 percent of voters don’t want him to seek another term. Half of Texans polled disapprove of Perry, which is actually an improvement from January when 54 percent said they didn’t like what he was doing.

Perry also leads in hypothetical general election matchups against San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, former Houston Mayor Bill White and current Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Perry is up for re-election in 2014, but the former Republican presidential candidate has not officially announced if he will seek a fourth term.

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