Tuesday, February 23, 2016

UT/TexTrib poll: Clinton 54, Sanders 44

A consistent pattern: the numbers close up as Election Day approaches.

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders has narrowed considerably in Texas but remains in the double digits among the state’s likely Democratic primary voters, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. 
“This race is narrowing, but not narrowing in a way for the lines to actually cross — especially in Texas,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin and the poll’s co-director. Clinton will win, he said, but the question mark, is the state’s Hispanic voters and their relatively low propensity to vote. “This will be a double-digit race, but I don’t think it’s going to be a 20-point race.”

Mrs. Diddie reported seeing four Clinton teevee spots during the course of last evening, all the same, very positive: one on MSNBC and three on the Travel Channel.  Like Nevada, her campaign is going to leave it all on the field.

“It’s her state to lose,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “Whether this race is 10 points or 18 points rests almost entirely on your opinion of whether Hispanics are going to turn up to vote.”

The Adrian Garcia/Gene Green Congressional 29th race takes on added significance in this light.  Houston's East End turnout in EV locations might be a barometer, but to this point Harris County turnout overall for Democrats is underwhelming.  That may hurt Garcia but it probably won't damage Clinton; voting in the RGV is what to watch for.  As Charles has provided and noted, Texas Democratic votes in the fifteen largest counties (with the exception of Hidalgo) is down about 50% from 2008, but way ahead, almost double that of 2012.  There are no tea leaves to read in this data, beyond what I mentioned yesterday.

Update: Stace has some observations and a suggestion for the Sanders campaign.

For Texas Republicans, Ted Cruz still holds a 37-29 lead over Donald Trump, but it might not matter if he finishes first.  Second place should be enough for Trump to declare victory.

"If he (Cruz) can't win Texas, where does he win?" asked Trinity University political scientist David Crockett, who counted Trump's primary victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina as carrying more weight than Cruz's win in the Iowa caucuses. 
"Caucuses are weird animals," said Crockett, pointing out that they require energy and a big commitment from voters. "Most of the contests are primaries, and Trump has won the first two, in both cases by double digits. That's a recipe for victory in the end if that dynamic doesn't change." 
With Texas considered not only a must-win but a must-win-big state for Cruz, Republicans concerned about Trump's rise are looking closely at the Lone Star State. 
"Trump's got momentum. He's got a lot of support. He could do well in Texas," said Republican consultant Brendan Steinhauser. "Personally, I'm worried about it. I think a lot of Republicans are."

Fear is a primary motivator for conservatives, after all.  To that end, I have seen much discussion among my Republican friends and family about moving to Marco Rubio.  The establishment is also pushing all in on The Robot.  If Rubio closes the gap between himself and the two Texas front-runners, that will be the story next Tuesday night.

Let's stand back and see if things get interesting.  At the moment, they're not.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Good roundup. I agree with Stace that Bernie should make a visit or two here.

And, yeah, Trump could wound Cruz without winning, but wound him by how much? If the poll is right, a Texas win for Trump is a mortal wound for Cruz, not just a wound.