From Nate Cohn:
If there’s any single competitive district you could look at on Election Night to know whether Texas went blue, this might be the pick
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) 8:47 AM – 17 September 2020
All we get is Twitter for this one, any other info about the poll is behind the National Journal paywall. It’s in line with an earlier poll that had Taylor leading 43-37 and Biden up by two in the district. Seikaly’s improved performance is likely due to greater name recognition at this stage of the campaign.
I can’t analyze the poll in any meaningful way, but I can add some context to Nate Cohn’s assertion that if Biden carries CD03 he’s likely to have won Texas. Here’s a review of recent elections:
In 2012, Mitt Romney carried CD03 by a 64.2-34.1 margin, as he won the state 57.2 to 41.2.
In 2016, Donald Trump carried CD03 by a 53.8 to 39.9 margin, as he won the state 52.2 to 43.2.
In 2018, Ted Cruz carried CD03 by a 51.3 to 47.9 margin, as he won the state 50.9 to 48.3.
As you can see, CD03 was more Republican than the state as a whole, though that margin had narrowed by 2018. But if the pattern of CD03 being more Republican than the state overall holds, then it’s trivial to see that a Democrat winning in CD03 would also win statewide.
That comes with a raft of assumptions, of course. Maybe CD03 will be less Republican than the state this year. It’s been trending in that direction, and as a heavily suburban and college-educated district, that trend should continue. Perhaps this year the lines will intersect, and a Dem running in CD03 will have to win it by a certain margin in order to be able to win the state. If Biden really is winning CD03 by three points, you’d think that would be enough slack for him.
There’s one more piece of objective evidence that both this district, and by implication the state as a whole, is perhaps doing better for the Democrats than people realize:
In a DCCC news conference, Chairwoman Cheri Bustos and executive director Lucinda Guinn are running thru some of the regular suspect TX races but Guinn also specifically point to #TX25, #TX6 and #TX3 as races to watch. This was completely unthinkable three years ago.
— Abby Livingston (@TexasTribAbby) 10:51 AM – 16 September 2020
Those are the three districts most recently added by the DCCC to their target list. You might say, the DCCC is in the business of talking up opportunities, so why should we take this as anything more than hype? Mostly because the DCCC already had its hands full in Texas – those three districts came after seven others currently held by Republicans, plus the two where Dems are playing defense. The DCCC is going to prioritize the districts where it thinks it can win, both to maximize its resources and keep its donors (and members) happy. They’re not going to go off on flights of fancy. It may be on the optimistic end of their spectrum, but if they believe there’s action there, you can expect there is.