Election Day is finally here.
Our live coverage will begin at 7 p.m. at txelects.com/live. In addition to the results and analysis we normally provide, we’ve added a “scoreboard” powered by the Texas Tribune and its partner Decision Desk HQ. The scoreboard has been customized to show the races we believe are most important. Most are rated as Lean or Toss Up, plus a few Likely races of interest.
We are holding to our estimate of 12.4M registered voters casting ballots, including the 9.7M whose votes are already in, outstanding absentee ballots and voters on Election Day. That latter group of voters is estimated to be around 2.5M.
Historically, there has not been much difference in partisan lean between early voters and Election Day voters. This year, we expect early voters to be disproportionately Democratic and Democrat-leaning, and Election Day voters will be disproportionately Republican. This sets up a dynamic of Democrats holding leads early in the night and Republicans clawing back those margins as Election Day numbers are reported.
Our presidential forecast (Trump 49.9%, Biden 49.2%) and Texas House of Representatives outlook (Net gain of 10 seats for the Democrats, giving them a majority) were previously discussed. Here we pick up the remaining state-level and federal predictions.
Republicans will continue their winning streak by sweeping all of the statewide offices. Our expectation is that Joe Biden will be the top-performing statewide Democrat largely because of his opponent, and that other statewide Democrats will average 1.75 points lower than Biden. This would put just about all the statewide races in the same ballpark as Beto O’Rourke’s loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) two years ago.
Democrats will flip SD19 (Lean Democratic), which Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) won in a 2018 special election. No other Senate seat on the ballot is competitive. Several Senate seats not on the ballot would have been competitive.
As noted above with the statewide races, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) is projected to win by about 4 points. Our model projects Democrats will pick up 5 seats in the congressional delegation, which would evenly split the delegation 18-18.
As with the state House, the competitive seats are listed below in order from likeliest to flip to least likely, and the model projects Democratic victories in the first five races:
- CD23 open (Lean Democratic) – Republican nominee Tony Gonzales II faces Democratic Gina Ortiz Jones, who narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) in 2018. The sprawling district, which runs from El Paso to San Antonio, has been growing slowly less blue but is projected to remain bluer than the state as a whole.
- CD24 open (Lean Democratic) – Republican Beth Van Duyne faces Democrat Candace Valenzuela in this North Texas district. Its precincts have moved 15 points toward the Democrats since 2002, half of which has occurred since 2012. In 2018, the district was bluer than the state as a whole, and it is projected to get a bit bluer.
- CD22 open (Toss Up) – Fort Bend Co. Sheriff Troy Nehls (R) faces 2018 Democratic nominee Sri Preston Kulkarni, who lost by nearly 5 points two years ago. The Fort Bend Co.-anchored district is one of the nation’s most diverse and has grown 11 points friendlier to Democrats since 2002. The district was slightly bluer than the state in 2018 and is expected to get a couple of points bluer this year.
- CD21 (Toss Up) – Freshman U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-San Antonio) faces former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) in this Central Texas district that may have a little too much of Travis Co. in it for the incumbent’s re-election chances. The district moved 2.5 points blue-ward in 2018, and Roy under-performed other Republicans by 2.1 points as the district tilted bluer than the state.
- CD10 (Toss Up) – U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin) faces a rematch against Mike Siegel, who lost to McCaul by 4 points in 2018. The district has hovered right around the state’s partisan lean for most of the past two decades before moving 2.1 points blue-ward in 2018. It is forecast to move another 2 points toward the Democrats. There’s a full point separation between this race and the next one.
- CD31 (Toss Up) – U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) faces Donna Imam in this Williamson Co.-anchored district. Carter won by 3 points over a better-funded opponent in 2018, but the district is projected to tilt bluer than the state after a 2-point shift in the last election cycle.
- CD3 (Toss Up) – U.S. Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) faces Lulu Seikaly in this suburban North Texas district that has rapidly become less hostile to Democrats. In 2012, the district was 8 points redder than the state as a whole. It moved 3.3 points to the Democrats in 2018 and is projected to be bluer than the state this year.
- CD2 (Toss Up) – Freshman U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) faces Sima Ladjevardian. Crenshaw won the district by 7 points in 2018, and that is one reason why this race is not really on the national radar screen (Several national pundits have it rated as Safe or Likely Republican.). The district jumped 2.5 points blue-ward in 2018 and is projected to be bluer than the state this year.
- CD25 (Toss Up) – U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin) faces a rematch against Julie Oliver, whom he defeated by nearly 9 points in 2018. A lot of the growth in this district is within the arm reaching into Austin, and Williams has under-performed other Republicans by between half and 1.1 points in the past two election cycles. The district is projected to be just on the blue side of the state’s overall partisan lean.
- CD6 (Toss Up) – U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) faces Stephen Daniel in what has been, up until the last month, a fairly quiet and lower budget race. The district has not swayed more than a point either way from the state’s partisan lean since 2008. It is projected to be right on the state average this year.
There is a 4-point gap between CD6 and the next Republican-held seat.
Republican pick-up opportunities are essentially the two seats they lost in 2018:
- CD7 (Lean Democratic) – Freshman U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston) faces Wesley Hunt two years after ousting longtime U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) by 5 points. Since 2012, the district has moved 7.4 points toward the Democrats. It was 3.6 points bluer than the state as a whole in 2018 and is expected to move another 2 points this year.
- CD34 (Likely Democratic) – U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D-Brownsville) district jumped nearly 7 points toward Republicans in 2018 and is expected to shift farther red-ward this year. That said, Republican Rey Gonzalez has raised just $13K over the entire election cycle.
- CD32 (Likely Democratic) – U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) faces Genevieve Collins in a district he won by 6.5 points in 2018. The district has been growing steadily friendlier to Democrats and is projected to be more than 9 points bluer than the state.
We expect it to be a very late night, and there may not be a lot of final answers as we wait for outstanding mail ballots received on Wednesday to be added to the totals.
All of our projections and analyses assume that all ballots cast by eligible registered voters in manners following guidance from county and state election officials will be counted. There remains some doubt about this, and efforts to prevent counting certain ballots have been posed for partisan advantage, as they always have been.
PRES: The latest Morning Consult poll finds President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden tied, 48%-48%. A new Data for Progress poll finds Biden leading, 49%-49%, while a new Emerson Coll. Poll finds Trump leading, 50%-49%. All of those polls are well within their margins of error.
SEN: The latest Morning Consult poll finds U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar, 47%-43%. While polls have frequently found Cornyn below 50%, it’s important to note that Hegar has never led Cornyn in a poll this year.
House Speaker: Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Port Neches) announced his candidacy for Speaker. He joins Reps. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) and Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) as official candidates.
Drive-through Voting: Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled the conservative activists lack standing to sue to toss more than 120K Harris Co. votes cast at 10 drive-through polling sites in Harris Co. In an oral ruling, Hanen said he would have denied the plaintiffs’ injunction for ballots already cast if he had found them to have standing. He would, however, have enjoined the use of drive-through sites on Election Day. “I realize the folks upstairs and in New Orleans might have a different view of it,” he said, referring to a potential appeal, which happened within a couple of hours. The case was placed on the docket before Hanen’s written order was filed, and it could conceivably be decided as early as tonight (Monday).
Hanen ordered the county to keep the drive-through voting records and memory cards separate “just in case the Fifth Circuit disagrees with me.” The county was already doing this.
The Texas Supreme Court rejected a similar suit over the weekend.
Texas Presidential Polls
- Trump 48, Biden 48 – Morning Consult (October) – LV
- Trump 50, Biden 49 – Emerson Coll. (October) – LV
- Biden 49, Trump 48 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
- Biden 50, Trump 48 – Public Policy Polling (October) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 47 – UMass-Lowell (October) – LV
- Trump 50, Biden 46 – RMG Research (October) – LV
- Trump 47, Biden 43 – NYT/Siena Coll. (October) – LV
- Biden 49, Trump 48 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
- Trump 50, Biden 45 – Univ. of Houston (October) – LV
- Biden 48, Trump 45 – DMN/UT-Tyler (October) – LV
- Trump 47, Biden 47 – Quinnipiac Univ. (October) – LV
- Trump 46, Biden 44 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
- Trump 49, Biden 47 – Morning Consult (October) – LV
- Trump 50, Biden 45 – Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune (October) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (October) – V
- Trump 51, Biden 44 – Crosswind (October) – LV
- Trump 49, Biden 49 – EMC Research (October) – LV
- Biden 47, Trump 45 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 48 – Civiqs (October) – LV
- Trump 49, Biden 46 – UMass-Lowell (September) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (September) – LV
- Trump 46, Biden 45 – Data for Progress (September) – LV
- Trump 50, Biden 45 – Quinnipiac Univ. (September) – LV
- Trump 46, Biden 43 – NYT/Siena Coll. (September) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 46 – CBS News/YouGov (September) – LV
- Trump 46, Biden 46 – Morning Consult (September) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 47 – Public Policy Polling (September) – V
- Trump 48, Biden 46 – DMN/UT-Tyler (September) – LV
- Biden 48, Trump 45 – Data for Progress (September) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 47 – Morning Consult (August) – LV
- Biden 48, Trump 44 – Tyson Group (August) – LV
- Biden 48, Trump 47 – Public Policy Polling (August) – V
- Biden 47, Trump 45 – Global Strategy Group (August) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 41 – YouGov/THPF (August) – RV
- Trump 49, Biden 43 – Trafalgar Group (August) – LV
- Trump 47, Biden 46 – Morning Consult (August) – LV
- Biden 47, Trump 45 – Morning Consult (July) – LV
- Trump 49, Biden 45 – SPRY Strategies (July) – LV
- Biden 45, Trump 44 – Quinnipiac Univ. (July) – RV
- Trump 46, Biden 45 – CBS News/YouGov (July) – RV
- Trump 46, Biden 44 – Gravis/OANN (July) – LV
- Biden 48, Trump 43 – DMN/UT-Tyler (July) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 44 – UT/Texas Politics Project (July) – RV
- Biden 45, Trump 44 – Fox News (June) – RV
- Trump 48, Biden 46 – Public Policy Polling (June) – V
- Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (June) – V
- Trump 44, Biden 43 – Quinnipiac Univ. (June) – RV
- Trump 47, Biden 41 – Emerson (May) – RV
- Trump 50, Biden 43 – Morning Consult (May) – LV
- Trump 43, Biden 43 – DMN/UT-Tyler (May) – RV
- Biden 47, Trump 46 – Public Policy Polling (April) – V
- Trump 49, Biden 44 – UT/Texas Tribune (April) – RV
- Trump 45, Biden 44 – DMN/UT-Tyler (March) – RV
- Trump 49, Biden 45 – Marist Coll. (February) – RV
- Trump 46, Biden 43 – Univision/Univ. of Houston (February) – RV
- Biden 48, Trump 47 – CNN/SSRS (February) – RV
- Trump 47, Biden 43 – UT/Texas Tribune (February) – RV
- Trump 44, Biden 42 – DMN/UT-Tyler (February) – RV
- Trump 51, Biden 46 – Texas Lyceum (January) – LV
- Trump 48, Biden 47 – CNN/SSRS (December 2019) – RV
- Trump 45, Biden 39 – DMN/UT-Tyler (November 2019) – RV
- Trump 46, Biden 39 – UT/Texas Tribune (November 2019) – RV
Links go to our coverage or commentary on the polls. If there is no link, then we either did not see the poll or otherwise did not have enough information to report on it. Legend: LV-Likely Voters, RV-Registered Voters, V-Voters
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