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POWELL IS TEXANS' PREFERRED CANDIDATE

Of four oft-mentioned potential candidates for president, the one Texans like best is the one with the least political experience - retired Gen. Colin Powell, according to a new poll.

Texas Poll results show Powell currying more support than Ross Perot, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the 1996 presidential election."Although not a majority, there is a substantial minority of people who would like to consider somebody other than the lead horses of the two political parties," said George Christian of Austin, a longtime Democratic consultant. "That hasn't changed from 1992."

In 1992, Perot's independent candidacy resulted in President Clinton winning the election with less than a majority of the popular vote. Some Republicans still are grousing that Perot's candidacy, which appealed to a more conservative voter and garnered 19 percent of the vote, helped deny re-election for George Bush.

"The poll suggests that there are a substantial number of swing voters who, given the opportunity, might vote for someone other than the Democrat or the Republican," Christian said. "And it's enough voters, I think, to swing the election."

The poll was released as the declared Republican presidential candidates trek this weekend to Dallas to try to win over Perot and several thousand of his followers at the United We Stand America national conference.