Lone Star State Republicans would sooner vote for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz than Gov. Rick Perry for president, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found on Wednesday.
The Canada-born Cruz leads all potential contenders in the 2016 race, with 27 percent of Texas Republicans naming him as their top choice for the GOP presidential nomination. The junior senator also enjoys a 42 percent approval rating overall, with 71 percent of Mitt Romney supporters backing him. Perry earned the support of only seven percent of Republicans looking for a 2016 nominee.
The field looks difficult for all Republican contenders after adjusting for the seemingly inevitable Clinton factor, however.
Nearly three-quarters of all Texas voters believe Gov. Perry should not run for president in 2016 and favored Hillary Clinton by four percentage points in a direct contest with Perry. But Cruz beats Clinton by five percentage points, 49 to 44. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also performed well, eking out a three point lead.
Texas voters favored New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over Clinton by the widest margin of nearly nine percentage points. Christie also earned the highest rate of uncertainty, with 14 percent of voters unable to choose between him or Clinton. And nearly 60 percent of voters do not believe Cruz should run for president in 2016.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn enjoys a high probability of re-election in 2014 despite a low approval rating, leading each potential challenger by seven points.