Poll: Perry Up 15 Over Hutchison In GOP Primary, Runoff Possible Thanks To Strong Third Candidate

The new Rasmussen poll of Texas finds incumbent Gov. Rick Perry continuing to lead Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, the leader in that race could end up remaining under 50 percent, and thus face a runoff, thanks to significant support for a third candidate.

The numbers: Perry 44%, Hutchison 29%, and Debra Medina, a nurse and conservative activist, at 16%. Two weeks ago, Perry was ahead by 43%-33%-12%. The pollster’s analysis points out just how daunting the math is for Hutchison at this point: “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.”

Hutchison pointed out recently that this race could be headed to a runoff. At the rate things are going, that could very well happen, which would extend the race from the March 2 primary all the way to the April 13 runoff. A big question is whether Medina can continue to have a high level of support — and if Hutchison can stop her own political bleeding.