A deeper dive into the Texas polls

From Decision Desk:

Whenever there is a new poll of Texas released, there are a ton of hot takes on Twitter. Old believers of Texas as the great blue whale for the Democrats move to dismiss the poll, saying that Texas has looked good for Democrats in the past, but that they just can’t seem to pull it off. There are others who say that the numbers are real, and are a result of inevitable demographic shifts. Others dismiss Texas numbers as not mattering, because if Texas is close, surely the election is already won for the Democrats.

So let’s look at all of these arguments, why they are right/wrong, what the actual contents of the poll (including the crosstabs, which get very little attention) are saying, and how you can extrapolate that into the broader electorate.

The first argument of new Texas polls, is that polls showing a small Biden lead now is wrong, and Trump will flip it back when he gains in the polls/ when likely voter screens are more prevalent. I’ve written about Likely Voter screens before, and why they may not hurt the Democrats as they have in past years, so I won’t write about that now, so instead I’ll talk about the first argument, that a small lead will not hold. Firstly, polls have underestimated the Democrats in Texas in 2016 and 2018, particularly in the 2018 Senate race, where Republican Senator Ted Cruz was expected to win by high single digits, only to cling to a ~2% win. Additionally, if you only believed the polls, there would be no Democratic representatives in TX-07 and TX-32, as both were polled by the NYT/Sienna, showing small GOP leads, along with a large lead for Will Hurd in the TX-23. Both the TX-07 and TX-32 were won by over 5 points, and the TX-23 turned into a nail biting finish on election night, which has (probably, at least in part) lead to the retirement of Will Hurd in 2020. Other people dismiss those numbers because they expect Trump to claw back some of his losses close to November. The problem with this assumption is that it is the same working assumption that analysts have had since Joe Biden won the nomination, and at every point it has yet to materialize. Since Biden locked up the nomination the pandemic has only gotten worse, and Trump has done nothing but lose ground almost every month. While there is likely a floor for the GOP in modern American politics, and while we are *probably* approaching that, there is no reason to think that floor doesn’t include a loss in Texas.

The author goes on to discuss Texas as a swing state, the crosstabs of that recent Quinnipiac poll, and the Senate race, so go read the rest. I’d also direct you to G. Elliott Morris on what to expect when the polls generally switch to a likely voter model from the current registered voter model. All of this comes with a certain level of uncertainty baked in, which is why it’s good to consider an array of polls and not fixate on any one poll, but if you want a quick response to anyone who will just dismiss the numbers we’ve been seeing, here you go.

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5 Responses to A deeper dive into the Texas polls

  1. I think Covid 19 deaths are driving a swift towards Biden away from the medical brilliance of the con man in chief. In essence Covid is the 800 pound gorilla in the election and as we just passed 4,000,000 infected from “one” of January and the “15, that will go away” in February. Actual justified fear rather than the contrived fear of the Republican fear machine is a true driver of momentum.Truth will win over lies anyday!

  2. brad says:


    Truth didn’t win in 2016. Lies did.

    Now, lies about loved ones dying on ventilators is another story and can’t be refuted….as hard as Trump and his GOP enablers try.

  3. He misjudged the public on his White Nationalist law-and-order deployment of poorly trained and poorly lead federal troops, too. He has misread Trump’s law-and-order campaign and is trying to pit White suburbs and rural areas against minority cities. It may get him even more of the redneck gun-loving voters, (if that is even possible) but seems to lose the suburbs based on the polls.
    All of the recent Texas poll show neck-and-neck. Conservative RCP has Trump by 0.2, electoral-college vote 1 for Biden, 538 has tied.


    But the overall ECV looks sweet and still moving Blue.


  4. I meant Nixon’s law-and-order campaign.
    Trump keeps losing more seniors to Biden, I think they want a return to competency, compassion, and normalcy.

    “When we try to understand why older voters, especially those in the 65+ demographic, are currently supporting Biden over Trump, this idea of competence and compassion could be a big reason. Fifty-one percent of those who are retired and 50 percent of those who are 65 years old or older prefer candidates who emphasize compassion and competence.”


  5. brad says:

    Grandpa vs Crazy conspiracy theory-minded bigot Uncle wins every time.

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