Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out with his best ad so far:
He looks more comfortable than in his previous efforts. Interestingly, it reverts to his original message as Texas job-creator rather than tout his economic plan. Perhaps the economic plan is simply a placeholder for him, to which he can point and say he too has an agenda. But how effective is his Texas-based job creation theme?
Coincidentally, a new poll suggests that Texans don’t give Perry much credit for the job growth. The Texas Tribune reports:
Republican presidential primary voters is the performance of the state’s economy — especially in job creation — during his tenure as governor. But Texas voters, for the most part, are more likely to see him as a bystander to the state’s success than its driver, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.
Asked about the factors behind the state economy’s relative strength, 65 percent of those responding attributed it to long-standing advantages such as the state’s wealth of natural resources, its balanced budget, the absence of a state personal income tax and a lenient regulatory environment. Another 21 percent cited Perry’s leadership in promoting lower taxes, lenient regulation and small government as the main reason the Texas economy has fared better than the national economy.
That’s likely fodder for his opponents’ ads, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Perry can’t convince non-Texans that he is strong on jobs.
Meanwhile his super PAC controlled by his close friend and former advisor Mike Toomey is going up with positive ads in Iowa and South Carolina (confirming that he’s likely throwing in the towel on New Hampshire.) These are generic, biographical ads suggesting the biggest hurdle for Perry is to reintroduce him and get his negative ratings down.
Herman Cain’s troubles give all the other candidates a chance to reassert themselves, raising a question about Cain’s competency that is perhaps easier to use against the popular businessman than going after his 9-9-9 plan. Perry’s had his own campaign problems but now is certainly the time to try to steal the “doer” and “problem solver” label from Cain.
Perry’s biggest problem may be time. He’s got a little more than 60 days before the Iowa caucuses (where polls show him in single digits) and a bunch more debates to get through in the meantime. It’s not clear with a crowded field whether he can get voters to take another look at him. But if he’s going to make a move, there is no better time to do it.