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Perry’s lead grows over Hutchison, Medina gaining ground, says new poll

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By J.J. Smith. Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry’s lead over Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has grown a little bigger in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Texas, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll just released after last Friday’s televised debate.

Tea Party activist Debra Medina also has gained ground, and her gains appear to come at the expense of Hutchison.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey of likely Republican Primary voters in Texas finds Perry leading Hutchison 44% to 29%, with Medina at 16%.

Medina has gained four points since the previous survey while Hutchison has lost four points. Perry’s support is little changed from a month ago.

Medina, the owner of a medical consulting firm, has seen her support grow from four percent (4%) in November to 12% in January to 16% now. She was invited to participate in the televised debate with Perry and Hutchison last Friday night based upon the growing voter support shown in a previous Rasmussen Reports survey.

Texas Republicans will choose their nominee for governor in the March 2 primary. New numbers on the Texas general election gubernatorial contest will be released by Rasmussen Reports soon.

Perry leads Hutchison by 18 points among conservative primary voters, and conservatives dominate Republican primaries in Texas and throughout the nation. Hutchison leads by 11 among moderate voters.

Turnout is often difficult to project for primaries. However, for Hutchison to win with the current attitudes, she would need more than 50% of the primary voters to be politically moderate.

Perry leads Hutchison by 24 points among men and five points among women.

Medina picks up 20% of the male vote and 12% support from women.

Eighty percent (80%) of likely primary voters have a favorable opinion of Perry. Sixty-seven percent (67%) say the same about Hutchison, and 50% are that upbeat about Medina.

However, Medina is much more competitive when those with strong opinions are considered. Twenty-four percent (24%) voice a Very Favorable opinion of Perry, 18% have a Very Favorable opinion of Hutchison, and 16% say the same about Medina.

Four percent (4%) have a Very Unfavorable opinion of Perry. Each of the other candidates is viewed Very Unfavorably by eight percent (8%).

Hutchison initially indicated a willingness to quit the Senate to run for governor but has never set a date for stepping down. In November, 57% of all voters in the state said Hutchison should stay in the Senate while running for her party’s gubernatorial nod, said Rasmussen.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Texas GOP voters approve of the job Perry is doing as governor. That’s up six points from a month ago. However, only 18% strongly approve.

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