A Washington Post poll out Tuesday shows Donald Trump’s lead at 2 percentage points in Texas, labeling the Lone Star state as a battleground, along with Ohio, Florida and Arizona.
In a four-way race, Trump, the Republican candidate for president, garnered 44 percent; Democrat Hillary Clinton 42 percent; Libertarian Gary Johnson 8 percent; and Green Party candidate Jill Stein 2 percent, with 3 percent having no opinion.
The poll was conducted Oct. 8 through Sunday, after the release of a 2005 tape of Trump speaking in vulgar terms about sexually assaulting women, something he has repeatedly denied doing.
A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t carried the Lone Star State since Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Gerald Ford in 1976 and few, in any, political observers considered Texas a toss-up as the general election campaign got underway this summer. But several polls this fall show Trump with just a single-digit lead. One poll last week showed Trump’s Texas lead within the margin of error.
The Post poll, conducted with SurveyMonkey, showed Clinton leading in enough states to put her well above the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Even if Trump were to win the four toss-up states identified by the poll — including Texas — as well as traditional red states Georgia and North Carolina, where Clinton has leads of 4 and 6 points, he would still lose.
Clinton’s suprising strength in Texas — according to some polling attributable to support from white suburban women who traditionally have voted Republican — led her campaign to spend an estimated $1.5 million on a one-week television ad buy in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.
National political strategists have said that the demographic changes in Texas, where Anglos now make up less than half the population, will herald a political shift. That hasn’t shown any signs of happening at the ballot box. In 2014, Republican Greg Abbott trounced Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 points in the race for governor, despite efforts by the nationally-funded group Battleground Texas.