Getting into the prediction business can be a bit tricky for all Americans after the upset in the 2016 election, but we’re really not going out on a limb in saying this: if Donald Trump loses Texas, he has no chance of maintaining the presidency.
And Texas, as of this writing, is statistically tied according to the polls.
It’s a state where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by nine points and over 800,000 votes in 2016. But a combination of demographic changes within the state, along with immigration policies that are less popular in the border state than elsewhere, and the facts on the ground have changed. A massive voter registration drive by Democrats in a state that traditionally has poor election turnout might be behind the numbers as well.
But will The Lone Star State actually turn blue for the first time since Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in 1976? Democrat Beto O’Rourke got close to defeating Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate race, losing by only 214,921 ballots in a 50.9% to 48.3% defeat. But the turnout in that race is behind what it will be come November. Can Biden do what was considered electorally impossible just one campaign cycle ago? If he does, the 38 electoral votes in his column means he will absolutely be President.
This is part of a series from us here at DK Nation because DraftKings is offering $100,000 as part of a free fantasy sports Presidential election contest for those that can predict the winner of 11 states in the Presidential election. And don’t forget PredictIt has established markets for elections that allow you to earn some money while also providing research on elections.
Current Texas presidential polling
The last high-quality poll for Texas was released yesterday:
A-: Emerson College: Trump 50%-Biden 49%.
Texas is very much a swing state in the 2020 election. And that would have seemed inconceivable just four years ago.
There simply hasn’t been much reliable statewide polling in Texas, which means it’s possible the Democratic push to win the state for the first time in a generation might be waning. Trump actually trails Biden in a Data for Progress poll at 47% to 46%, but a Morning Consult poll released October 13th has it 49%-47% for the President. Both the polls are rated B- or worse.
An A/B rated UMass-Lowell poll has Donald Trump still in front in Texas, with a 50-46% lead in one sample with a high turnout model, and 49-46% advantage in a lower turnout audience construction.
There’s a gap between some recently taken B-rated polls, with CBS News/YouGov showing President Trump leading 48%-46% in Texas, but The Tyson Group having Biden ahead 48%-44%. The Tyson Group sample had an emphasis on energy policy, and shows 65% of Texans support offshore oil and natural gas drilling, while 24% oppose.
A B-rated Public Policy Polling (PPP) sample released on September 8th shows President Trump leading Vice President Biden 48%-47% in the Lone Star State. Of the 743 voters sampled, 47% approved of the President’s job performance, while 51% disapproved. This same sample had 49% of respondents that voted for Trump in 2016, where as only 41% voted for Hillary Clinton, and 10% voted for someone else or did not vote.
A Morning Consult poll taken after the two political conventions still shows the race within the margin of error in Texas, but slightly in Donald Trump’s favor. Trump leads Joe Biden 48%-47% in the poll taken since the convention, right in line with the 47%-46% lead the President had going into the two commercials.
The most recent YouGov poll shows Trump leading in the Lone Star State 48%-41% over Joe Biden. Add this to the latest PredictIt numbers, and the Democratic hopes for taking over Texas and virtually guaranteeing election for Joe Biden seem to be taking a hit as of late. There’s still time, but there might be other battleground states where the campaign might focus instead of one that’s so large and expensive to compete in because of its size and media markets.
There hasn’t been much reliable polling of Texas statewide for the general election of late, with only a C- rated poll from the Trafalgar Group showing President Trump ahead 49%-43% as of August 7th. Caveat emptor here as that rating is quite low in terms of reliability.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Donald Trump & Joe Biden are in a statistical dead heat, both with 46.2% of the vote. As astonishing as that is, the latest poll from a group rated “B” or higher by 538 is by Quinnipiac University, who has it Biden 45%-44% as of July 22nd. The divides are pretty stark: On the economy, Trump leads 56%-40% over Biden. On addressing racial inequality, Biden leads 51%-39%.
Despite the lead, the poll also showed that Biden has some ground to make up on belief in his ability to handle the economy: Registered voters by a 52%-39% margin selected Trump when asked “who do you think would be better when it comes to dealing with the economy?”
More useful data is at PredictIt, a site that allows a limited form of betting on elections in the United States via futures contracts. The site operates via an exemption in US law so political scientists and other academics can use the data in their research showing how the general public feels about an upcoming event or election. For now, it shows most traders voting with their wallets think Texans will eventually come home and vote for Trump.
All futures contracts traded on the site are based on a $1.00 outcome, but they don’t always add up to a buck because of the bid-and-ask pricing on the exchange. For example on July 28th the Republicans led in Texas .64 cents to .38 cents based on current trading.
Below is a running tally of the closing price at PredictIt. We will update this weekly through the summer, and then more regularly in the fall as we get closer to the election.
Texas PredictIt Pricing
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