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Wendy Davis Rises In Stature, But Runs Far Behind Rick Perry: Poll

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State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) has seen her name recognition soar, according to the first Texas poll taken since her 11-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion bill, but she would still trail Gov. Rick Perry (R) by 14 points in a hypothetical match-up.

Texas voters were somewhat more likely to support than oppose Davis' use of the filibuster, the Democratic firm PPP found, with 45 percent approving and 40 percent disapproving.

Her stance on abortion has also helped Davis's standing in the state. The percentage of voters who've heard of her doubled this year, from 34 percent in January to 68 percent currently. Thirty-nine percent hold a favorable opinion of her, compared to 29 percent with an unfavorable opinion, making her better-known and better-liked than a number of other Texas Democrats, including Houston Mayor Annise Parker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and former Houston Mayor Bill White.

The nationwide attention Davis received for her filibuster has sparked talk that she could challenge Perry in next year's gubernatorial race. But she remains considerably behind Perry, who leads her 53 percent to 39 percent.

Perry fared similarly well against two other possible Democratic candidates, leading Parker by 52 percent to 35 percent and White by 50 percent to 40 percent. Perry had a smaller, 7-point lead against Castro, who announced earlier this year that he would not run for governor.

Perry's position also appears to have improved since earlier this year. Forty-five percent of voters approve of his performance as governor, while 50 percent disapprove -- still a negative rating, but up a net 8 points since January. Support from his Republican base, which earlier seemed to have cooled, has rebounded to 81 percent, and he now leads conservative state Attorney General Greg Abbott by 12 points in a primary matchup, 46 percent to 34 percent.

PPP used automated phone calls to survey 500 Texas voters between June 28 and July 1.

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