Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is still something of a punchline after his disastrous 2012 presidential campaign. As he prepares to run again in 2016, there's nowhere to go but up.

Which is precisely where he appears to be going. In the national spotlight again because of the crisis on the southern border, Perry seems to be working his way into GOP voters' favor again.

Witness two new polls this week.

The first poll, from NBC News and Marist College, showed Perry right up there with the frontrunners in Iowa, pulling 7 percent of the vote. He was also the second choice of 11 percent of voters. That's by far his best showing in an early Iowa poll. (He also hit a new high in New Hampshire -- albeit at 5 percent.)

Then there is this new poll Friday from Gallup. The pollster measured how favorably Republican voters felt toward their top potential 2016 presidential candidates.

And guess who finished a close third out of the 11 candidates tested? A certain Texas governor.

None of this is to say that Perry should instantly be seen as a 2016 contender. His biggest hurdle in 2012 and again in 2016 wasn't really that people didn't like him, so much as that he kept tripping over his own feet on the campaign trail. And that was true long before "oops."

But never under-estimate the appeal of a political reclamation story. And Perry, at the very least, appears to have a chance to shed his punchline status.

Update 12:32 p.m.: And now Perry has landed the cover of the Weekly Standard: