UT/Trib: So this is what a swing state looks like

This is not the poll I’m looking for, but it still tells us something.

Half of the registered voters in Texas would vote to reelect President Donald Trump, but half of them would not, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Few of those voters were wishy-washy about it: 39% said they would “definitely” vote to reelect Trump; 43% said they would “definitely not” vote for him. The remaining 18% said they would “probably” (11%) or “probably not” (7%) vote to give Trump a second term.

“That 50-50 number encapsulates how divisive Trump is,” said James Henson, who runs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin and co-directs the poll. But, he added, the number is not necessarily “a useful prediction for an election that’s 16 months away.”

Among Republicans, 73% would “definitely” vote for Trump; among Democrats, 85% were “definitely not” voting for another term.

“This squarely focuses on Trump,” said Daron Shaw, professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the poll. However, he said, “it isn’t a matchup with a flesh-and-blood Democrat. It shows Trump’s relative weakness, compared to a generic Democrat in this state.”

Independents were less emphatic than either the Republicans or the Democrats, but 60% said they wouldn’t vote for the president in an election held today, including 45% who would “definitely not” vote for him.

“The most interesting and more consequential thing, this far out, is that amongst independents, 60% say they will probably or definitely vote for somebody else,” said Joshua Blank, manager of polling and research for the Texas Politics Project. “Overall, Texas independents tend to be more conservative than liberal and tend to look more like Republicans than like Democrats … and things have gotten worse among independents.”

I agree that’s bad, but I’d also point to this: Only 73% of Republicans say they will “definitely” vote for Trump, while 17% say “probably”. For Democrats, 85% definitely will not vote for him, with 6% more probably not. That seems to me to be a bit of an enthusiasm gap, which is a much bigger concern if you’re a Republican who will also be on the ballot next year. Or, you know, if you’re part of the Trump campaign and dealing with crappy polling news coast to coast. Republicans have had a turnout advantage in Texas going on thirty years now. Donald Trump’s lasting gift to our state may be him killing that off. See here for the March UT/Trib poll numbers, here for the most recent actual matchup numbers we have, and here for more from the June UT/Trib poll.

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5 Responses to UT/Trib: So this is what a swing state looks like

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    Even before and without Trump, the changing demographics of the state told me it would be 50% blue by 2024. It’s why I believe the GOP has embraced the worst policies. They disenfranchise voters, they try to kill off Latino immigration – rather than, you know, trying to represent them.

    Trump may have accelerated that blueness some. Now I’d look for the state GOP to emphasize anti-abortion and heterosexual pride to draw evangelical and conservative Catholic Latinos to their candidates. Instead of, you know, actually representing them…

  2. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Regarding the predictions of Latino turnout flipping Texas, that by itself won’t get Texas blue for a while. Holding all other variables constant, Hispanic turnout in Texas would need to increase by 50% over 2016 levels to erase the 9.5 percent Trump margin in Texas by itself. That is around 10 years away.

    If Texas flips in the next decade, in addition to increasing Hispanic Turnout/Support, the Dems will need to eat into the massive GOP margin among white voters.

    So a Dem win in Texas next year might look something like this:

    Hispanic Turnout up by 20 percent while reducing the GOP support percentage among Hispanics by 5%. That would generate a 3.9% net increase in Dem percentage.

    White voting percentage for Trump from 2016 falls by around 6 percent. That, assuming that African American voting stays constant, would be enough for a slim win.

    That’s a tall order for the Dems, but one that can be done.

  3. Bill_Daniels says:

    “…. the Dems will need to eat into the massive GOP margin among white voters. ”

    The current House hearings about reparations for black Americans should really help to cement the white vote. I believe this is the winning issue for Dems, and I have no idea why they wouldn’t choose to televise the event. It’s an important issue, and definitely not pandering. I’m glad to report that our own Sheila Jackson Lee was in attendance for this important testimony.

  4. Bill_Daniels says:

    Oops. My bad, apparently it WAS televised.

    Here’s Burgess Owens’ testimony:


  5. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Dont care. Neither do the well educated Anglo suburbanites that are leaving the GOP.

    You can run against AOC and SJL all you want. You already have all the voters that would be influenced by that. That messaging doesnt help you gain any voters or motivate any potential voters that are on the sidelines.

    But you are free to continue with that. The Dems will be talking about health care, common decency, a trade policy that is coherent, and a foreign policy that isnt for sale.

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