For the first time in over 75 years (since FDR in 1940), the Dallas Morning News endorsed a Democrat, Hillary Clinton, over a Republican, Donald Trump, for President of the United States. This raises the question, could Hillary actually win Texas this year?
The short answer is anything’s possible, but in reality it’s long shot. Let’s review.
According to figures released in 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in Texas is growing faster than any other group. As of July 2015, Hispanics made up 38.8 percent of the state’s population while white residents made up 43 percent. This would seem like a plus for Hillary Clinton as the Hispanic population tends to lean more Democratic than Republican on the whole.
Furthermore, Donald Trump’s xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric has not only driven many more conservative leaning Hispanics away from the GOP, but has also caused many legal Hispanic immigrants to seek citizenship in advance of the election in order to vote against Trump. Another positive for Clinton, but as you will see, it’s probably not enough to put her over the top in Texas this year.
In the most recent polls collected by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, Trump is beating Clinton by anywhere between +1 point (SurveyMonkey 8/9-9/1 adjusted) up to +18 points (Ipsos 8/26-9/1 adjusted). It is important to keep in mind that, while the Ipsos poll gets an A- rating, the SurveyMonkey poll’s rating is a C-, which means it’s likely an outlier and isn’t indicative of what the likely outcome will be.
Moreover, if you average all 9 polls collected by FiveThirtyEight since February, Trump easily beats Hillary by +10.4 points. If you only average the 6 polls conducted in August, his chances of winning Texas go up (+11.8 points). According to FiveThirtyEight, this puts Hillary’s chance at winning in state at a mere 4%, while Trump enjoys a very comfortable lead, with a 96% chance of winning Texas’ 38 electoral college votes. In other words, while it’s of course possible the outlier poll could be trying to tell us something, in all likelihood the outlier is well exactly that, and Trump will win Texas easily.
Similarly, based on the most recent New York Times’ model estimate, Trump has an 84% chance of winning Texas, compared to Clinton’s only 16%. In horse racing, this would put the odds at about 11 to 2. Further, while the Times’ list of averages from other news organizations and the betting market, shows Texas has in fact moved into the list of the twelve most competitive states, it also shows that across the board Trump is likely to win the state.
Additionally, although the most recent Texas poll collected RealClearPolitics (the Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll conducted between 8/12 and 8/14) which has Trump up by only 6 points, might make it appear Clinton is pulling within arm’s length in the state, the RCP polling average for Texas, has Trump ahead by 8.4 points. Likewise, in the only 4 way poll to be conducted in Texas listed on RCP, Trump also beats Clinton by 6 points. This makes it unlikely Clinton will be able to catch up to him and earn enough votes to make a surprise comeback.
All in all, Clinton isn’t likely to win Texas, at least not this year; though Democrats shouldn’t count it out in the future. With the shifting demographics of the U.S. and of Texas in particular, the state could very well become competitive for Democrats as soon as the next election cycle. That said, while the Dallas Morning News’ endorsement is great for Clinton, if she really wants to pick off a so called red state this year, she would be wiser to focus her attention on North Carolina, Georgia, or Arizona, where she has better chances of winning.