Herman Cain's support appears to be broad and deep, even in Rick Perry's home turf of Texas.
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll show a statistical tie at the top between Cain and Perry, with Texan Ron Paul running 3rd:
Cain got 27 percent to Perry's 26 percent among Texas registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul was next with 12 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 9 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8 percent. The other Republican primary candidates - Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum - each got 2 percent or less; 11 percent of the respondents answered "don't know," and another 1 percent said they would prefer "another Republican candidate."
"Texans appear to be subject to the national dynamic," said Jim Henson, who teaches government at UT, runs the Texas Politics Project there and co-directs the UT/Tribune poll. "And the dynamic when we were out in the field was that Herman Cain was ascendant. He had really grabbed the attention of the conservatives in the GOP primary race in particular. And we saw that reflected in this poll."
Though they're statistically tied - Cain's lead over Perry is well within the survey's margin of error - the former executive leads Perry among rural voters in Texas, and has a smaller lead among suburban Republicans. Perry has a 2-point edge over Cain in urban Texas. Break that down a little more and the poll found Cain with a big lead over Perry in Houston and in Austin, while Perry had smaller advantages over Cain and the other Republicans in Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio.
Trouble for Perry? That's not news. But how about only 9% for putative "front runner" Mitt Romney? It raises the question; Can Romney win the nomination if he does poorly in the south? He might, but what does that mean for the general election? The heart and soul of the party in southern states will lack enthusiasm for the guy at the top of the ticket. This could mean less of an impact on the down ticket races where the GOP has a real shot at taking control of the senate.