President Trump leads presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, 49%-44%, among registered voters, according to a new Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF). Trump led Biden in a hypothetical matchup by 7 points in the November 2019 UT/TT poll and by 4 points in the February poll. Trump received 52% of the vote in Texas in 2016, defeating Hillary Clinton by 9 points.

Female voters were split evenly, 46%-46%, while male voters favored Trump, 53%-41%. Trump led among Anglo voters, 60%-34%, and Biden led among African-American voters, 74%-16%, and Hispanic/Latino voters, 50%-40%. “Independent” voters favor Trump, 39%-29%, but nearly a third are undecided.

As has been the case in recent UT/TT polls, Trump fares worse against a generic candidate than an actual one. Asked whether they would vote today to re-elect the president, 50% said they would vote for him (42% “definitely”) and 49% said they would vote “for someone else” (42% definitely). The percent “definitely” voting for Trump is the highest since February 2019, and the percent “definitely” voting for someone else is the lowest since then. More than three out of five “independent” voters would vote for someone else, but less than half of them said they would vote for Biden.

This is likely due to the generally unfavorable views respondents have had toward individual Democratic candidates. In this poll, Biden’s favorability rating was 35/51 (18/40 strongly). Other favorability ratings of note:

  • Trump’s job performance – 49/45 (36/39 strongly)
  • Trump’s response to COVID-19 – 48/45 (33/38 strongly)
  • Trump’s handling of the economy – 49/42 (37/33 strongly)
  • Greg Abbott’s job performance – 56/32 (31/18 strongly)
  • Abbott’s response to COVID-19 – 56/29 (31/16 strongly)
  • Abbott’s handling of the economy – 54/25 (31/14 strongly)
  • Gov. Dan Patrick’s job performance – 40/36 (20/29 strongly)
  • S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s job performance – 45/39 (29/32 strongly)
  • S. Sen. John Cornyn’s performance – 38/36 (15/26 strongly)

Respondents’ net positive reviews of Trump and Abbott’s handling of the economy come with generally sour views of the economy itself. The national economy is viewed as worse off compared to one year ago by 64% of respondents (45% “a lot worse”), and 54% said the state’s economy is worse off than a year ago (28% “a lot worse”). Since 2012, the percent of respondents who believed the state’s economy was “a lot worse” off has not exceeded 5%.

As of this point, these negative views of the economy remain more optimistic that during the recession of 2008-09. In October 2008, 86% of respondents believed the national economy was worse off (52% “a lot worse”) than a year ago. This may also be a factor of respondents’ generally more optimistic views about their own financial condition. Only 35% said they and their family were worse off now (14% “a lot worse”) than a year ago, and 28% said they were better off than a year ago. In October 2008, 20% said they were better off and 43% said they were worse off than a year ago.

Asked about the direction of the country, 39% of respondents agreed “things are headed in the right direction” and 52% said things are on the “wrong track.” These numbers have stayed largely consistent since February 2018. Respondents were split 43/43 about the direction of the state, marking a somewhat downward shift from recent years. Right direction has been at least 10 points ahead of wrong track since June 2016.

The internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted April 10-19 and has a stated margin of error of ±2.83%.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC