NYT/Siena poll: Trump edging Biden in Texas — thanks to Hispanics


Oh, the irony. If Donald Trump manages to get rescued by Hispanics next week, it might be the most #2020 thing this year. The New York Times credits a surge of support from Latinos for keeping Trump narrowly ahead of Joe Biden in Texas in their latest survey with Siena. However, note when this survey was taken:

President Trump maintains a narrow lead in Texas, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll on Monday, as he faces a rebellion in the state’s once overwhelmingly Republican suburbs but survives with support from an unlikely ally, Hispanic voters.

Over all, Mr. Trump leads Joe Biden, 47 percent to 43 percent, among likely voters. The majority of interviews were conducted before the final presidential debate on Thursday. In the Senate race, the Republican incumbent, John Cornyn, holds a larger lead, 48-38, over the Democrat, M.J. Hegar.

The news isn’t all good for the GOP, at least at the time the poll was taken:

The findings suggest that Republicans face catastrophic risks down-ballot, even if Mr. Trump wins. Mr. Biden leads him by five percentage points, 48 percent to 43 percent, across the 12 predominantly suburban congressional districts that the Cook Political Report has rated as competitive. These districts voted for the president by eight points in 2016.

In these districts, Republicans face a combination of rapid demographic change and previously unthinkable Democratic gains among white college-educated voters. Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden by just two points among white college graduates in these districts, even though they say they backed Mr. Trump by 24 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

If you’re inclined to see the overall result as an outlier, you’d be … mistaken. RealClearPolitics has an aggregate average for Trump at +3.2 over Biden, who scored a tie in Quinnipiac the week before, and a 3-point edge in the Dallas Morning News poll taken the same time. Trump has led at or outside the margin of error in five polls in the past month, but the biggest lead among them is +7 from Rasmussen. Texas looks close to all of the pollsters playing in the Lone Star State, at least for now.

And it does look like Biden is underperforming among Hispanics in Texas, just as he has in Florida. Jacob Rubashkin notes that the data on this varies widely between pollsters, however:

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Fair enough, although it’s also clear that this is not the 2018 electorate either, at least overall. Republicans have done a much better job registering new voters, thanks to a ground game that just doesn’t exist among Democrats. That may play into Gallup’s party-ID polling too, showing just how much the electorate has shifted in two years. Two years ago, Gallup had Democrats +6 and got an 11-point advantage among unaffiliated voters; this year, Republicans are +1 and only trail by three among indie leaners.

Those are reasons to wonder about the models being used by pollsters in this election, especially with the huge disparity on GOTV investment by both campaigns and parties. That may well be why Hispanics are shifting to Trump more than expected — because they’re being asked.

Finally, note that all of these polls took place before Biden pledged to “transition from oil” as president. I’ll have more on that later, but it’s already developing into a major headache for Democrats and a focus for Team Trump in swing states, especially Texas and Pennsylvania. Texas Democrats are trying to distance themselves from that pledge, which indicates just how popular that will be among Texas voters. This state won’t turn blue in this cycle, and maybe not for a long time to come while Democrats keep trying to shut down energy production in Texas.

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