In a hypothetical general election matchup in the Texas gubernatorial race, Republican activist Debra Medina leads Houston mayor Bill White, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by three points, 41-38, according to a Rasumussen survey released yesterday. This wouldn’t mean all that much, considering that Medina currently trails Gov. Rick Perry by 28 points with just one month to go until the primary—except for one thing: Medina has touted, as a central issue of her campaign, the supremacy of state sovereignty under the 10th amendment. Last summer, Medina headlined a pro-secession rally at the Texas capitol, where she told the assembled crowd: “We are aware that stepping off into secession may, in fact, be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” (Medina was forced to watch a clip of those comments at the final gubernatorial debate, which was awkward.)
According to a Daily Kos/ Research 2000 poll released earlier this week, though, Medina’s views, while in the minority, resonate with a sizable chunk of the Republican electorate. Twenty-three percent of self-identified Republicans answered in the affirmative to the question “Do You Believe Your State Should Secede From the United States?” Another 19 percent weren’t sure. (Also of note: 8 percent of respondents would be in favor of allowing openly gay teachers to teach in public schools. So at least they’re tolerant.) In the GOP’s defense, the poll questions read like an attempt to bait respondents into taking incendiary views; and “self-identified Republicans” is a more narrowly defined group than actual “Republican voters.” But those numbers are pretty grim any way you spin them.
Even the mild-mannered dairy farmers of Vermont seem to have gotten into the secession action—as a recent Time article noted, the Vermont secession movement is supporting nine candidates for statewide office this November.