Poll shows only 18% of Texans back secession; Governor backpedals
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday April 17, 2009

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In spite of Texas Governor Rick Perry's apparent empathy for secessionist politics, a Rasmussen poll published Thursday finds just 18 percent of his constituents would vote to secede from the United States were such a ballot ever put forward. Just 31 percent of the poll's respondents believe that Texas even has the right to leave the union.

Perry's controversial comment seemingly lending credence to secessionist politics came during a Wednesday protest at Austin City Hall and his spokespeople have been insisting it was misinterpreted ever since.

"We've got a great union," said Perry. "There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

The comment drew cheers of "secede" from the crowd.

"However, the latest Rasmussen Reports poll in the state finds that if the matter was put to a vote, it wouldn't even be close," found Rasmussen. "Three-fourths (75%) of Lone Star State voters would opt to remain in the United States. Only 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent (7%) are not sure what they'd choose."

"'[With] federal financial bailouts and an explosion in federal spending, I understand how someone could feel that way' about Texas leaving the U.S.," he said Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Gov. Perry took another shot at amending the remark on Friday.

"'I was kinda thinking that, maybe the same people who hadn't been reading the constitution right were reading that article and they got the wrong impression about what I said,' he told reporters as in the Texas State House," according to CNN.

"Sanford Levinson, a professor at the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin, said that between the Texas Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the 1845 Joint Resolution Annexing Texas to the United States, there is no explicit right for the state to return to its days as a republic," reports the Austin American Statesman.

"We actually fought a war over this issue, and there is no possibility whatsoever that the United States or any court would recognize a 'right' to secede," Levinson wrote to the paper.

"Levinson noted that the 1845 resolution allows for Texas to break itself into five states but doesn't specify whether that would require congressional approval and forming new states still wouldn't constitute secession," continued Statesman reporters W. Gardner Selby and Jason Embry.

"At the most basic levels, the Reasmussen poll indicates all of the teabaggers who hollered and shouted for joy during Perry's repeated call for secession represent an extreme minority of the state at 18%," wrote Matt Glazer at the Burnt Orange Report. "It further shows just how out of touch the organizers of this Republican press stunt really are."

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