Lyceum: Trump 39, Clinton 32

From the Texas Lyceum, another single-digit poll result.

If the U.S. presidential election were held today, ballot tests show a tighter race at the top of the ticket in deep red Texas than recent history would suggest, according to independent poll results released today by the Texas Lyceum, the nonprofit, nonpartisan premier statewide leadership group.

Among likely voters, GOP nominee Donald Trump leads Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by just 7 points, 39 – 32 percent among likely voters. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson polls at 9 percent and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein garners 3 percent in the trial ballot.

Among registered voters, Clinton trails Trump by only 1-point in the 4-way race, and holds a surprising 4-point lead over Trump in a two-way trial ballot, not including Johnson and Stein, 39 to 35 percent. (The margin of error among registered voters is +/- 3.34%, n = 862.)
With only six weeks away from early voting, another 17 percent won’t say or don’t know who they would support. (The margin of error among likely voters is +/- 4.37%, n = 502.)

The Lyceum Poll comes one week after the Washington Post / Survey Monkey Poll 50-state poll showing a tight presidential race in Texas with Clinton leading Trump by one point among registered voters in a two-way matchup, not including Johnson and Stein.

“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,” said Joshua Blank, Ph.D., Texas Lyceum Research Director.

Split-Ticket Voting Unlikely

With the low favorability ratings of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, many political pundits have speculated about the possibility of increased split-ticket voting, in which voters vote for one party’s candidate at the top of the ticket and another party’s candidate in down ballot races. However, the Texas Lyceum Poll does not find much evidence for this among Texas’ likely voters.

Only 2 percent of Trump supporters, in the two-way trial ballot, say that they’ll vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress, and only two percent say that they’ll vote for a Democratic candidate for the Texas Legislature. Among Clinton supporters, only 6 percent say that they’ll vote for a Republican candidate for Congress, and only 4 percent say that they’ll vote for a Republican candidate for the Texas Legislature.

Texans’ Economic Views Steady

Economic evaluations of Texas’ economy appear to have improved somewhat over last year. Texans aren’t overjoyed about the national and state economy or their own economic situation, but they’re more optimistic.

Looking at personal economic evaluations, the poll asked, “compared to one year ago, are you better off, worse off, or about the same economically?” A majority of Texans (50 percent) say their economic status remains unchanged compared with one year ago and 30 percent say that their personal economic situation is better off (up from 25 percent in 2015), while 19% say they are worse off (down from 23% in 2015).

President Obama and Governor Abbott Enjoy High Job Approval Ratings

Among adult Texans, during his last few months in office President Obama enjoys a high job approval rating (58 percent) in the Texas Lyceum Poll. This result combines those saying that the President is either doing a “very good” or “somewhat good” job as president. Among registered voters, the President’s job approval rating drops by only 2 points to 56%.

As expected, Democrats overwhelmingly approve of the President’s job performance while Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove. Hispanics and African American adults in Texas also give the president high marks, 74 percent and 90 percent respectively, while a majority of Anglos, 63 percent, disapprove of the president’s job performance.

Meanwhile, Governor Abbott maintains a high job approval rating of 61 percent with sharp partisan differences similar to that of the President.

While 88 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of the job that Abbott has done as governor, only 40 percent of Democrats agree. Abbott’s job approval among racial groups is generally positive, with a majority of Anglos (69 percent), African Americans (51 percent), and Hispanics (53 percent) indicating that the governor is doing a good job — similar to last year’s results.

From September 1-11, 2016, The Texas Lyceum conducted a statewide telephone survey of adult citizens. The survey utilized a stratified probability sample design, with respondents being randomly selected at the level of the household. The survey also employed a randomized cell phone supplement, with 40 percent of completed interviews being conducted among cell phone only or cell phone dominant households. A Spanish-language instrument was developed and bilingual interviewers offered respondents a chance to participate in English or Spanish. On average, respondents completed the interview in 19 minutes. Approximately 6,100 records were drawn to yield 1,000 completed interviews. The final data set is weighted by race/ethnicity, age and gender to achieve representativeness as defined by the Texas Department State Health Services 2016 population projections. The overall margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

The executive summary is here, toplines and question wording is here, crosstabs are here. There was also an issues-based poll released the day before, which I’ll touch on later, for which the press release is here, the executive summary is here, and the toplines are here. The “who do you support for President?” question is really two questions, with RV and LV results for each. Here’s how that all looks:

Q8A. If the 2016 election for president were held today, would you vote for [RANDOMIZE] the
Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and
Tim Kaine, or haven’t you thought enough about it?

(Among likely voters: n = 502, MOE +/- 4.37%)

1. Trump/Pence                     42%
2. Clinton/Kaine                   36
3. Haven’t thought enough about it 15
4. DON’T KNOW / REFUSED / NA        6

(Among registered: n = 862, MOE +/- 3.34%)

1. Trump/Pence                     35%
2. Clinton/Kaine                   39
3. Haven’t thought enough about it 18
4. DON’T KNOW / REFUSED / NA        8

Q8B. And what if the candidates were [RANDOMIZE] the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike
Pence, the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, the Libertarian ticket of Gary
Johnson and Bill Weld, the Green Party ticket of Jill Stein, or haven’t you thought enough about it?

(Among likely voters: n = 502, MOE +/- 4.37%)

1. Trump/Pence                                39%
2. Clinton/Kaine                              32
3. Johnson/Weld                                9
4. Stein                                       3
5. Haven’t thought enough about it/Don’t know 14
6. DON’T KNOW / REFUSED / NA                   3

(Among registered: n = 862, MOE +/- 3.34%)

1. Trump/Pence                                30%
2. Clinton/Kaine                              29
3. Johnson/Weld                               10
4. Stein                                       3
5. Haven’t thought enough about it/Don’t know 24
6. DON’T KNOW / REFUSED / NA                   3

Not sure why there’s a seemingly redundant “Don’t know” option with the “Haven’t thought enough about it” response in Q8B, but whatever. The two points to take home from this are that 1) yet another poll shows a single-digit difference between Trump and Clinton, and this is true in all race combinations, and 2) lower-propensity voters tip the race into tossup status, suggesting that higher turnout really would benefit Democrats. The question about crossover voting suggests that at least in this sample, there aren’t that many Republicans voting for Clinton, though there are more of them than there are Democrats voting for Trump. This is borne out by the crosstabs, which also shows that the “Haven’t thought enough about it” crowd is fairly evenly split among Dems, Republicans, and indies. Some previous polls, like the Beatty poll, suggested that Trump’s lower numbers came primarily from lack of Republican support. There is some evidence of that here, in the slightly higher rate of Republican support for Clinton, which is still in the six percent range, but there is a proportionate share of uncommitted voters across the spectrum. Point being, both Trump and Clinton have the potential to grow. We’re going to need a lot more polls in October to really get a feel for how this will wind up.

One more thing about the crosstabs: Clinton wins the under-45 crowd, by a lot with the under-35 cohort, while losing (by 10-12 points) the 45+ age group. A change is coming, even if it isn’t here yet.

As for the issues poll, there’s something there for everyone. Here’s a bullet-point list from the press release I got:

· A majority of Texans (59 percent) oppose GOP nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to try to stop illegal immigration.

· Texans continue to believe that immigration is the number one issue facing the state, but a plurality of Texas adults (45 percent) also say that immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts.

· Texas adults oppose (51 percent) a ban on immigration from countries with a history of terrorism against the West.

· When asked broadly, Texans (74 percent) believe that requiring an ID at the polls in order to vote is a good idea.

· Texas adults are inclined to think that transgender students should use the public school facilities that match their birth gender (54 percent), but with sharp partisan and age divides.

· Texans’ attitudes about Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act remain unchanged since 2013, with a plurality (49 percent) preferring to keep Medicaid as is.

· A majority of African American, Texas adults (51 percent) say they’ve had a specific instance in which they’ve felt discriminated against by the police because of their racial background, compared to 23 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of Anglos.

· Texans believe that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft should be regulated like taxis, and, by a slim margin, that this regulation should take place at the local level – not in the Texas Legislature.

· The economy remains the most important issue facing the country, with national security/terrorism jumping to number two, followed by immigration.

Compare that to the priorities and agenda of the Republicans for the 2017 Legislature, and you may think that maybe they’re just a tad bit out of sync with the population at large. Of course, it’s the population that votes that matters, and among that crowd there are still a significant number of people who disagree with Republicans on a broad range of issues but vote for them anyway. That may be because they do agree with them more strongly on some other issues, it may be because they don’t care for the alternatives or in the case of legislative races don’t have any alternatives, it may be because they don’t know enough about where various candidates stand on issues, it may be because of habit and comfort, or it may be for any number of other reasons. Whatever the case, that’s the challenge. As I keep saying, nothing will change until the people who get elected change.

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One Response to Lyceum: Trump 39, Clinton 32

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I think Governor Abbott is doing a pretty OK job, too, mainly because he isn’t Rick Perry. Of course, if my cat was governor, I’d say the same thing about the cat. Perry lowered the bar precipitously.

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