With three weeks to go before the general election, the state of play up and down the ballot remains remarkably stable across Texas. However, as races remain close, that stability could mask a lot of volatility within polls’ margins of errors and assumptions about who the “likely voters” really are.
This stability is anchored by the presidential race, for which the vast majority of voters have long made up their minds and whose minds are very unlikely to change. On Friday, the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF) showed that 91% of likely voters were “not very” or “not at all likely” to change their mind before they vote. This is a little bit higher than in 2016, but there’s an important difference. This year, the 4% who said they were “very likely” to change their minds are evenly distributed between President Trump and Joe Biden. Four years ago, seven out of nine likely voters “very likely” to change their minds supported Clinton when the poll was taken. Trump led Clinton by 3 points in that October 2016 poll, and he won by 9.
The 2020 UT/TT poll, most of which was conducted prior to Trump’s October 2 positive COVID-19 diagnosis, shows the incumbent leading Biden, 50%-45%, which is within the poll’s margin of error. Since November 2019, UT/TT polls have found Trump leading Biden by 7 points (November), 4 points (February), 5 points (April), 4 points (July) and now 5 points.
It is the fifth time Trump has been at or above 50% out of the 45 polls we have tracked since January. He was over 50% in one out of the 16 polls we tracked in 2016.
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