Wait–Trump Is Only Ahead By Six Against Clinton...In Texas?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 17, 2016 1:40 PM
Wait–Trump Is Only Ahead By Six Against Clinton...In Texas?

Texas…is a battleground state? The nightmare scenario that Republicans have been trying to fend off could be coming to fruition—which could spell electoral disaster for years to come. On the other hand, it could be that Donald Trump is an outlier, given that a) he’s not really a Republican and b) he’s become incredibly unappealing since the Republican National Convention. Trump seemed to have a path to victory. If the election were held in mid-July, he would have secured 285 electoral votes. That’s not the case anymore. Right now, if Trump were to win the remaining swing states, including Florida and Ohio, Clinton would still beat him. He’s losing—and losing big. Hence, why he decided to shake up his campaign this morning. How bad is it? He’s only leading Clinton by six points in the Lone Star State. It’s possible that deep-red Texas could be an area where Trump has to spend more money than usual, which diverts funds from his strategy to expand the electoral map, which has also failed miserably. He’s losing in New York by 30 points and decided to campaign in Connecticut, which was a colossal waste of time.

Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning outfit, conducted the poll, but the sample size didn’t skew to the Democrats, as with most of their work—this is a R+6 poll. Fifty-one percent of those polled voted for Mitt Romney in the last election, and 66 percent of those polled were over 46 years old; 28 percent were over 65, which is a demographic that skews to the right. Forty-eight percent described themselves as conservative. 

Trump should be worrying about two things especially - the first being his tax returns.

Sixty-four percent felt that he should release his tax returns, while only 10 percent considered themselves undecided. That leaves little room for Trump to ensure a comfortable victory in the Lone Star State, possibly encouraging more Democrats to pour money into local races there to build on gains made by Clinton in the hopes of turning the state blue. No Democrat has been elected to a statewide office since 1994. That’s a long draught, but if Clinton has a strong showing in Texas—it could lead to a massive onslaught in a state that is the largest guaranteed bloc of electoral votes for Republicans in national elections. At the same time, maybe Trump does well here, beats Clinton by 10+ points and kills off this dream of turning Texas blue. Wendy Davis’ 2015 drumming by now-Gov. Greg Abbott shoved a knife through the heart of that project. In comparison, Romney beat Obama here 57/41 in 2012.

Another factor hamstringing Trump is that he isn’t popular in Texas. The silver lining with all of this is that Clinton is in all likelihood going to lose Texas. Texas Monthly said that the state isn’t turning blue anytime soon. I hope so, though this election could change that for the next cycle.

A Democratic victory in Texas this year remains a stretch but within the numbers there are signs of Democrats being positioned to become seriously competitive there in the years ahead. Trump's lead is based entirely on his holding a 63-33 advantage among seniors. With voters under 65, Clinton leads him 49-45. And when you look just specifically at voters under 45, Clinton leads Trump 60-35. Older voters are overwhelmingly responsible for the Republican advantage in Texas, and generational change is likely to help Democrats become more competitive.

A big piece of that generational change is the increasing racial diversity of the electorate in Texas. Trump has a 69/25 lead with white voters but the reason the state's so competitive overall is that among non-white voters Clinton has a 73-21 lead, including a 68-27 edge with the state's booming Hispanic population.

Clinton's unpopular in Texas, as you would expect, with a 36/59 favorability rating. But Trump's not a whole lot better off with only 40% of voters seeing him favorably to 53% with a negative opinion. The tax return issue continues to plague Trump with 64% of voters thinking he needs to release his returns to only 25% who don't think it's necessary for him to. Even Trump's supporters, by a 43/41 spread, think he should release them.