Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry the Lone Star State, and that was in 1976.
But a new Quinnipiac University poll indicates that if the presidential election were held today, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee would grab the support of 45 percent of registered voters in Texas, with President Trump backed by 44 percent. Biden’s 1-point edge is well within the survey’s sampling error.
The Quinnipiac survey follows other major polls that indicate a close contest between Biden and Trump in Texas. A Fox News poll conducted last month also showed the former vice president with a 1-point edge over the GOP incumbent. An average of the most recent surveys compiled by Real Clear Politics indicated Trump with a negligible edge of just two-tenths of 1 percent.
Trump won the longtime red state by 9 points in the 2016 election, down from Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 16-point win over then-President Barack Obama in Texas in 2012.
The poll’s release comes as Texas is experiencing a surge in new coronavirus cases. Sixty-five percent of those questioned said the pandemic is “out of control” in Texas, nearly three-quarters said the spread of the virus is a serious problem, and two-thirds said they personally know someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19 — a 31-point spike since June.
“With crises swirling through American society and a country deeply divided, there’s no other way to slice it. It’s a toss-up in Texas,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said.
According to the survey, Democrats back Biden 94-3 percent and independent voters support Biden 51-32 percent, with Republicans backing the president 89-6 percent.
Texas is an enormous prize in presidential politics. The state’s 38 electoral votes are second only to California, which has 55 electoral votes.
In the state’s Senate battle, the poll indicates Republican Sen. John Cornyn leading Democrat challenger and Air Force veteran MJ Hegar 47-38 percent.
The Quinnipiac University Poll was conducted July 16 to 20, with 880 self-identified registered voters in Texas questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.