New poll results from the Texas Lyceum, a Dallas-based nonprofit leadership organization, show that Texas might not be as red as usual come the Nov. 8 presidential election. The state has long been a Republican stronghold and reliably red in national elections, but GOP nominee Donald Trump appears to be generating little enthusiasm among the party’s base as well as independents.
Among likely voters, Trump leads Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by seven points, at 39% and 32%, respectively. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson comes in third at 9% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein registers in fourth with 3%. Among registered voters, Trump holds a fragile 1% lead over Clinton in a four-way race, while Clinton has a 4% lead in a head-to-head matchup. With only six weeks left before early voting begins, 17% of respondents say they remain undecided.
The poll shows similar results of a Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll that showed Hillary Clinton edging Trump in Texas with a 1% lead in a two-way matchup, an academic exercise since Johnson and Stein are both on the Nov. 8 ballot.
In a news release, Texas Lyceum Research Director Joshua Blank explained the outcome of the survey.
“Registered voters are more diverse than the pool of voters who historically show up in Texas elections, but the combination of the slow march of demographic change and Trump’s rhetoric appears to have made Texas’ registered voter pool more Democratic than we have seen in previous presidential races,” he said.
Some would argue that surveys of registered voters matter far less than likely voters, and that the state’s growing Hispanic voting population is not leading to higher minority participation and will not be a significant factor in this presidential election.
Texas has safely voted Republican in the last four presidential contests. That lock on the outcome has diminished this election. In the four previous presidential contests, polls taken in the closing months showed the GOP candidate leading by 18-22%, and then winning the state by comfortable, double-digit margins. Texas hasn’t had results this close since the 1990s, when third-party candidate Ross Perot siphoned votes away from GOP candidates President George H. W. Bush and, four years later, Senator Bob Dole (R-Kansas), allowing former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton to miss winning Texas by 3% in 1992 and 5% in 1996.
In elections prior to the Reagan era, Texas was considered a safe bet for Democrats. Of the 31 elections that Texas was a part of since achieving statehood in 1845, it went blue 27 times.
The Texas Lyceum survey results are based on adult phone surveys conducted Sept. 1-11. The survey included interviews with more than 1,000 adults, and was conducted in English and Spanish, employing a randomized cell phone supplement to account for homes without a landline. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.
Top image: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will face off in the 2016 presidential election. Photo by Michael Stravato.