LOOKING AT THE SECESSION GLASS AS HALF-FULL…. This week’s secession talk from, among others, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), has been a little jarring. Even Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera said “you have to be a lunatic” to advocate secession.

True, but while the governor of Texas appears to have suffered some kind of head trauma, what about the people of Texas? Rasmussen put a poll in the Lone Star State field.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country.

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. 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.

Let’s put aside the strange believe that Texas can simply walk away from the United States if it wants to, and focus on that second part. Three-fourths of Texans want to remain Americans; nearly one in five don’t.

I’m not quite sure whether this is encouraging or not. Sure, I’m delighted that a clear majority of Americans in Texas aren’t prepared to give up on the United States. But then there’s that nagging realization that nearly one in five Texans supports secession.

The word “fringe” is, I suppose, subjective. In a political context, it implies extremists at the periphery, who hold radical beliefs far from the mainstream. 21st century secession should, by most measures, be considered a “fringe” idea.

But in Texas, can an idea be both “fringe” and embraced by 18% of the state?

Here’s hoping the Rasmussen poll is exaggerating the number.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.