Oh My: RealClearPolitics Shifts Texas to 'Toss-Up' Status

Guy Benson
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Posted: Oct 24, 2016 10:25 AM
Oh My: RealClearPolitics Shifts Texas to 'Toss-Up' Status

On one hand, despite this splashy move over the weekend, I still think Trump is the odds-on favorite to carry the Lone Star State and its trove of 38 electoral votes -- without which any GOP nominee would be truly doomed. He has never trailed Hillary in a single Texas poll, and the low dollar amount of Team Clinton's ad buy in the state makes it look more like a feint than anything else. On the other hand, hasn't led her by double digits in any statewide survey since August, with this new CBS News poll showing him ahead by just three points.  That's within the margin of error:

That's not an outlier, either. All three Texas polls taken this month show the contest within four points or closer. Mitt Romney trounced Barack Obama by 16 points among Texans in 2012, as a point of reference.  I suspect Trump will not only carry Texas, but do so by a few more points than the polls show.  But that's just a gut feeling based on the redness of the state.  Keep an eye on the trajectory of polling there over the next few weeks.  Also in RCP's 'tossup' category these days?  Georgia and Arizona (and...Minnesota?), where Trump is leading and trailing by small margins, respectively:

For what it's worth, the AP's projections are similar, but not identical, to RCP's.  Back to Texas.  Here's one particularly scary data point for Republicans from the CBS numbers:

Younger Texans are breaking for her, with Millennials fleeing the GOP nominee in droves.  Does that mean that Republicans generally are on the brink of ceding the state to Democrats, effectively ending GOP hopes of winning the White House?  It will be interesting to see how long younger voters hold the entire GOP responsible for Trump, but the answer to the question I posed is not necessarily.  In the gubernatorial race two years ago, Republican Greg Abbott crushed Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 points.  Voters in their 40's backed About by 17 points, Thirty-somethings went to Davis by a single-digit margin, and voters aged 25-29 swing to Abbott by 14 points.  In other words, younger generations of the Texas electorate are not sliding inexorably into blue territory.  But Trump appears to be uniquely poisonous, and that could have future implications.  Meanwhile, in Florida:

That result is bang on with other polling of the state, the last seven of which have given Clinton a lead of either three or four points. Dig into the numbers a bit, and you find some...interesting internals.  For instance, 60 percent of Floridians say Trump should pledge to abide by the election result (just 18 percent say he should not), but nearly the same number say they believe voter fraud happens "a lot" or "sometimes."  Of those two groups, nearly 70 percent believe Trump would win the election, if not for cheating.  While fraud is a real phenomenon and a problem that the Left tolerates and dismisses, there is no evidence that the national election can or will be rigged.  Trump's own campaign manager admitted Sunday that their campaign is not winning right now.  That's reality, not crooked spin, or whatever.  It should be noted that even though she's ahead in this survey, Hillary Clinton is not a popular figure among Florida voters.  By a 16-point margin, more respondents say she served her own interests over the country's as Secretary of State.  Fully 67 percent say she is not honest and trustworthy, and 56 percent say she doesn't 'understand regular people.'  Anti-Hillary attacks are hitting their marks; people just dislike Trump more, which has always been the problem.

A majority of Floridians say Republicans should have nominated someone other than Donald Trump for president, but Republican voters there say they'd still pick Trump over Marco Rubio, albeit by a significantly smaller margin than the results of March's blowout.  (Rubio exited the presidential race with a four-point average lead over Hillary nationally, and much better favorables than Trump).  Rubio narrowly leads his Democratic opponent in the Florida Senate race in this poll, maintaining his streak of never falling behind in that race.  The Left is pulling out all the stops to defeat him, with President Obama ripping into Rubio at a recent rally -- and the New York Times going out of its way to endorse in this race for some reason, backing the Democrat.  Actions speak louder than words, but perhaps there's a reason why strategic-thinking liberals are so eager to end Rubio's career.  Perhaps it's the same reason why Clinton's team feared Rubio, based on emails hacked by Wikileaks.  I'll leave you with this unnerving analysis from Nate Silver, who looks at the possibility of a down-ballot Trump armageddon for the GOP:

Every center-right voter must vote in November, in order to deny Democrats a turnout advantage that could fuel a wave.  It's no coincidence that a right-leaning SuperPAC is following in the Chamber of Commerce's (more implicit) footsteps and starting to run ads about electing Republicans as a check against Hillary: