Is Texas in play? New poll suggests Joe Biden has a chance to win Lone Star State

President cruised to win in Texas four years ago by nearly 10 points over Hillary Clinton as survey suggests swing to Democrat underway

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Wednesday 03 June 2020 21:34
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Texas, a Republican presidential stronghold for decades, could be in play as Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off to decide who will be commander in chief come late January.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday gives the president a razor-thin lead in the Lone Star State, 44 per cent to 43 per cent. That puts the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee well within the survey's 2.9 per cent margin of error, and appears to indicate the usually predictable red state is no sure thing this time for Mr Trump and Republicans.

Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat to carry the state. He did so in 1976, defeating then-President Gerald Ford.

Mr Trump easily won Texas in 2016, knocking off former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 52.2 per cent to 43.2 per cent.

Like in a handful of battleground states he won last time, the poll suggests a sizeable amount of Texans who voted for the president four years ago are at least entertaining the idea of supporting Mr Biden this time.

"Too tight to tell in Texas," said Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac pollster. "As the country confronts chaos and Covid-19, perhaps one of the most important states of all is a toss-up."

Mr Biden leads Mr Trump nationally by 7.8 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of several polls. He also leads in seven of 10 expected battleground states, though some of those leads are extremely small and well within each survey's margin of error.

A new Monmouth University survey gives the former VP an 11-point lead nationally, with more of those surveyed saying Mr Biden would do a better job handling race relations amid ongoing protests – sometimes featuring looting – after the death of a black man, George Floyd, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

"The race continues to be largely a referendum on the incumbent. The initial reaction to ongoing racial unrest in the country suggests that most voters feel Trump is not handling the situation all that well," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

In a potential good sign in Texas for the incumbent, more voters in Texas believe he would do a better job managing the US economy, 54 per cent to 40 per cent.

But on another of the election's most important issues, health care, Mr Biden gets the nod from Texans, 49 per cent to 43 per cent.

Both issues are listed by women voters as their top priorities for the election. Suburban women have been fleeing from the coalition Mr Trump cobbled together last time.

"The president cannot keep doing things that drive women – white educated suburban moms, especially – and win this election," one GOP strategist said this week. "Older voters care about health care, so do those moms.

"He has time to salvage this, but he has to get white women and seniors back. The only alternative would be to expand [his base]," the strategist said. "And he has made absolutely no attempts to do that his entire presidency. He's not going to start six months before the election."

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