Former President Bill Clinton greets audience member after his speech. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
Former President Bill Clinton greets an audience member after his speech. Credit: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / San Antonio Report

Texas last backed the Democratic candidate for president 40 years ago, when Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Gerald Ford by 3.2 percentage points. In the nine elections since then, the state has been a reliable Republican stronghold.

Heading into Election Day, the race for Texas’ 38 electoral votes between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton is unusually tight. While the latest polls suggest the state will remain red, Democrats are hopeful that Trump will draw a smaller margin of victory than Republicans have seen from Texas in decades.

Since Carter’s win, Democrat Bill Clinton came the closest to turning Texas blue in 1992. Clinton lost the state to then-President George H.W. Bush by 3.5 percentage points, in an election in which independent Ross Perot, a Texan, drew 22% of the state’s vote.

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Jimmy Carter was the last presidential candidate to turn Texas blue

In the past four presidential elections, the Republican candidate has won with margins of over 10 percentage points, but polls suggest this year’s contest may be tighter.

 

Source: Texas Secretary of State
Source: Texas Secretary of State
Source: Texas Secretary of State
Source: Texas Secretary of State

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Annie Daniel

Annie Daniel joined The Texas Tribune in 2014 shortly after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill where she studied both multimedia journalism and political science. She is now a member of the Tribune’s interactive...

Aman Batheja

Aman Batheja worked for eight years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, most of that time covering state and local politics. A native of Cedarhurst, New York, he has an undergraduate degree in journalism...