New poll: Medina within runoff range in GOP race

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by BRAD WATSON / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on February 9, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 10 at 1:10 AM

DALLAS — With early voting in the primary starting next Tuesday, a new poll in the governor's race shows a likely runoff among the Republicans.

While some question the automated phone call methodology of the survey firm Public Policy Polling, the organization nailed a major race last month by accurately predicting that Republican candidate Scott Brown would be the next senator from Massachusetts.

So what about the race for governor in Texas?

This new PPP poll suggests that Debra Medina — with her Tea Party, libertarian message — got a bounce and then some from the two statewide debates with incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

"When people are committed to something, that we are to this idea of a limited constitutional government, it is catching on,” Medina said.

The survey of 423 likely GOP primary voters found Perry with 39 percent support, Hutchison with 28 percent  and Medina at 24 percent.  That's Medina's highest mark yet in the polls.

But without the money to match Perry and Hutchison on television ads, Medina's challenge in the next three weeks leading up to the the March 2 primary will be getting out her name and message.

 Some analysts, like SMU political science Professor Cal Jillson, expect Medina's support to trail off. But it hasn't happened yet.

"This isn't a normal election," Jillson said. "I keep getting surprised, and I'm always surprised that Medina is on the upside, so it's real, it's volatile and we've got to keep watching it pretty close.”

Medina told News 8 that her campaign is helped when Perry and Hutchison attack one another.

“She's doing a very good job reminding us why we don't want Gov. Rick Perry for another four years, and he's doing a pretty good job of showing Texans why they don't want Sen. Hutchison as a governor,” Medina said.

The Republicans running for governor appear headed to a runoff. The question now is: Who will those two candidates be?

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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