|Julián Castro and Hillary Clinton in San Antonio, Oct 2015|
PPP's new Texas poll finds a relatively tight race, at least on the curve of recent Presidential election results in the state. Donald Trump leads with 44% to 38% for Hillary Clinton, 6% for Gary Johnson, 2% for Jill Stein, and less than half a percent (0) for Evan McMullin. In a head to head contest Trump leads Clinton 50-44 in the state, which Mitt Romney won by 16 points in 2012.
These are miserable numbers for a Republican candidate in Texas.
A Democratic victory in Texas this year remains a stretch but within the numbers there are signs of Democrats being positioned to become seriously competitive there in the years ahead. Trump's lead is based entirely on his holding a 63-33 advantage among seniors. With voters under 65, Clinton leads him 49-45. And when you look just specifically at voters under 45, Clinton leads Trump 60-35. Older voters are overwhelmingly responsible for the Republican advantage in Texas, and generational change is likely to help Democrats become more competitive.The future looks bright, but is a blue Texas in 2016 just a silly dream? Not if you ask Tim Kaine, who said this last week in Austin:
“This team, we’re serious about Texas, because we know the kind of work you can do,” said Kaine, standing alongside a big blue map of Texas with Hillary Clinton’s logo at its heart. “We’re going to go after Texas.”And when asked what red state Trump puts into play, Hillary herself had an enthusiastic answer ready a few months ago:
“Texas!”...“If black and Latino voters come out and vote, we could win Texas.”Essentially, she's right. Texas has miserably low voter turnout which has played right into the hands of the GOP for decades. But if black, Latino and under-45 voters turn out like never before, this situation could turn around rather dramatically...and since Trump is a candidate like we've never seen before, I wouldn't dismiss such an idea.
If it becomes clear by sometime in October that she has 270+ electoral votes locked up, the Clinton campaign should seriously consider making a full-blown effort to flip Texas. I'm talking TV ads, big rallies, extra staff...the whole shebang. Why? Because such an effort in itself would be historic, it would make Republicans sweat over a longtime stronghold, and it might help flip a couple of House seats in the process.
Plus, if everything goes just right...Texas might just turn blue late into the evening of November 8th, completely humiliating and breaking the back of the GOP as a national party.
It can't happen unless we try.