Statesman poll shows Trump with 7-point lead over Clinton

In the wake of recent polls indicating that deep red Texas might be a toss-up in the presidential race, a new Crosswind/American-Statesman Texas Pulse poll conducted Saturday through Monday shows Republican Donald Trump with a 7-point lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Lone Star State

According to the survey of 800 likely Texas voters conducted by Crosswind Media & Public Relations and Pulse Opinion Research, Trump has 45 percent support to 38 percent for Clinton and 7 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and 10 percent not sure. (The poll didn’t offer Green Party candidate Jill Stein as an option.)

“Texas is not yet a toss-up state, but Hillary is giving Trump a run for his money,” said Thomas Graham, CEO of Crosswind, a Texas-based public relations firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

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The 7-point margin is far tighter than seen in previous presidential elections in Texas. In 2012, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney exceeded President Barack Obama in Texas by nearly 16 percentage points. In 2008, Obama lost Texas to Republican John McCain by just under 12 points.

In perhaps the most surprising result of the new poll, Trump, whose treatment of women has become central to Clinton’s critique of him and his candidacy, had a larger lead with Texas women than with Texas men. Trump is ahead 43 percent to Clinton’s 39 percent with men, and 46 percent to Clinton’s 38 percent with women.

Generational divide

The starkest contrast in the poll was among generations. Clinton is way ahead of Trump — 51 percent to 28 percent — among likely voters 18 to 39 years of age. Trump leads Clinton 48 percent to her 35 percent among voters 46 to 64 years old, and he carries voters 65 and older by a whopping 71 percent to 25 percent ratio.

“It would appear that in Texas, many moms who are supporting Trump have children supporting Clinton,” Graham said.

Trump is winning white voters by a margin of 57 percent to Clinton’s 25 percent. Johnson receives 8 percent of their support.

Clinton is leading Trump among black voters, 77 percent to his 17 percent, and leading among Hispanic voters, 56 percent to Trump’s 24 percent.

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The margin of error for the poll, which was conducted both online and by telephone, is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The new poll comes in the wake of three successive polls in the past two weeks — by the University of Houston, WFAA-TV/Survey USA and CBS News/YouGov, showing Clinton running only 3 or 4 points behind Trump in Texas, within the polls’ margins of error.

On Sunday, RealClear Politics, which collects and averages polls nationally and in every state, declared that it considered Texas a toss-up state.

On Monday night, Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler sent out a fundraising appeal noting that “Texas has not voted for a Democratic president in 30 years” — though it’s actually 40 years since Jimmy Carter carried the state — and, “if Hillary Clinton takes Texas, we will never win the White House again.”

An outlier?

The Texas Pulse poll was predicated on a likely electorate that was 61 percent white, 14 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic and 5 percent other.

Hispanics, in recent Texas history, make up between 17 percent and 21 percent of the Texas electorate, and Texas Democrats hope that Hispanic turnout will rise above the 20 percent that the Texas Pulse used in its model.

In the Texas Pulse poll, of the 800 likely voters surveyed, 36 percent identified as Republican and 31 percent identified as Democratic, with 33 percent identified as “other.”

Garry Mauro, who speaks for the Clinton campaign in Texas, said the Texas Pulse poll looked to him like an outlier, because the demographic breakdowns of presidential preference of the other recent polls were so consistent, and the finding in this poll that Trump was doing better with women seemed so anomalous and out of step with what other polls all over the country were showing.

According to the Texas Pulse poll, Texans gave Obama an overall favorability rating of 48 percent, up from 41 percent in Crosswind’s 2015 poll.

Texans gave Gov. Greg Abbott an overall favorability rating of 58 percent, up from 54 percent last year.

Asked about the most important issue facing Texas today, immigration and border security, at 29 percent, led the way, followed by 24 percent citing the economy and jobs, 12 percent naming education and an equal percentage naming health care, and 10 percent citing taxes and spending.

Pulse/Crosswind has surveyed Texas voters seven times in the last three years about their thinking on policy and politics.

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