By Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
President Donald Trump would beat former Vice President Joe Biden in Texas by 4 percentage points if the election were held today, according to a new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Politics Project.
The Republican incumbent’s narrow lead four months before the election suggests Texas, a state where no Democratic presidential candidate has prevailed since 1976, is competitive in 2020.
The poll found 48% of Texas registered voters support Trump, while 44% support Biden. Partisans are sticking with their nominees at this point, with 91% of Republicans saying they’d vote for Trump and 93% of Democrats supporting Biden. Among self-identified independent voters, Trump holds a 41-27 edge over his challenger.
Men favor Trump, 53-41, while women favor Biden, 48-43. Among white voters, 59% favor Trump, while 79% of Black voters favor Biden. Among Hispanic voters, Biden holds a 46-39 edge.
Republican candidates haven’t lost a presidential race in Texas in four decades. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 9 percentage points in 2016 in the closest race since Bob Dole beat Bill Clinton here by 4.9 points in 1996. The biggest Texas winners over 40 years were Ronald Reagan (27.5 percentage points in 1984) and George W. Bush, the former Texas governor who won both his 2000 and 2004 contests by margins of more than 21 points.
Voters are split on the job Trump is doing as president, with 46% giving him good marks — a group that includes 85% approval among Republicans. Slightly more, 48%, say they disapprove of the president’s job performance, including 93% of Democrats. In a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll a year ago, 52% approved of Trump’s performance while 44% did not.
Half of Texas voters approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 42% disapprove. While 44% of voters approve of his response to the coronavirus pandemic, 49% do not. The partisan differences shine brightly: 82% of Republican voters approve of the president’s pandemic responses, while just 6% of Democrats and 33% of independents do.
Trump’s handling of race relations has the approval of 41% of Texas registered voters, while 50% disapprove. Only 5% of Democrats approve, compared with 32% of independent voters and 78% of Republicans.
The pandemic is the most important problem facing the country today, according to 18% of Texas voters, while 15% say political corruption/leadership is the top problem and another 8% put the economy first.
Only 30% of Texas voters think the country is on the right track, compared with 40% who thought so a year ago. Another 62% say the country is on the wrong track, up from 50% in June 2019.
Most voters — 70% — say the national economy is in worse shape than it was a year ago, while 17% say it’s better and 10% say it’s about the same.
The University of Texas/Texas Politics Project internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from June 19 to June 29 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83% percentage points.