It's been almost 50 years since Texas went blue. Is 2020 the year?
It's been nearly five decades since a Democrat running for president won the state of Texas, when Lone Star State voters handed then-candidate Jimmy Carter a narrow victory over incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976. But now, nearly 50 years later, former Vice President Joe Biden is in as good a position as any to once again turn Texas blue, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, which shows him and President Trump running neck-and-neck in the state with just days to go before voting ends.
Of the 1,145 likely voters polled between Oct. 16-19, Trump and Biden are tied at 47% apiece, marking a decided narrowing of the polls since the last survey taken in late September, which saw the president up by 5 points.
Trump has retained a decisive edge among voters who plan to cast their ballots on Election Day itself, while Biden leads 63% to 31% among mail-in and absentee voters, and 48% to 46% for those who plan to vote early in person. Notably, the poll found that:
In Texas, 69% of likely voters say they have cast or plan to cast their ballot at an early voting location, while 18% say they plan to vote in person on Election Day and 12% say they have voted or plan to vote by mail or absentee ballot.
It's a statistic made even more significant by the fact that as of early this week, the number of people who have already participated in some form of early voting in Texas surpassed the total number of votes Trump earned there in 2016.
This is all good news for the Biden camp, who have begun pouring record levels of money into what they now clearly believe is a winnable state for them.
"This is historic. That shows you just how important Texas is to them and it shows that Texas is in play," Abhi Rahman, a Texas Democratic Party spokesperson, told the Texas Tribune. "It shows you their investment in Texas is real."
Real as it may be, Quinnipiac's latest poll isn't all good news for Democrats. When it comes to the state's Senate race between incumbent Republican John Cornyn and Democratic nominee M.J. Hegar, Cornyn maintains a solid 6-point lead over his opponent, 49% to 43%.
Nevertheless, whether it's Cornyn's reliance on his state's Republican tailwinds, or Trump's unique unpopularity among voters, Texas has become one more place where the president and the Republican National Committee are now forced to play some form of defense, and spend time and money they probably wish they could save for someplace else.