U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro recently tweeted that a combination of factors would place the Lone Star State “in play” in November:


No Democratic presidential nominee has won Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976, and no Democratic presidential nominee has received more than 45% of the vote here since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. No Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, the longest such streak in the country. Straight-ticket voting favors Republican candidates – all of them, including the party’s presidential candidate – and voters are increasingly casting straight-ticket ballots. Quite a few trends would have to be bucked if Texas were to be competitive in this year’s presidential race.

We previously noted that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are highly unpopular in Texas. Each is viewed unfavorably by a majority of Texas registered voters, according to a February UT/Texas Tribune poll. This is not the result of strong partisan dislike of the other party’s candidate. Trump’s favorability rating among independent voters was 32/55 and Clinton’s was 18/60. This latter number must be overcome by Clinton in order for Texas to be “in play.” Even if Trump’s favorability plummets because of “Donald’s insults” or other reasons, Clinton’s would likely need to rise.

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