A new poll out from Quinnipiac University finds former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump locked in a tight race in Texas, with 45% of registered voters supporting Biden and 44% for Trump.
The Lone Star State has long been a Republican stronghold. Texas has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980 and in 2016, Trump won the state with 52% of the vote. However, Quinnipiac’s polling as well as other recent polls in the state have shown some warning signs for the President.
The July poll from Quinnipiac is the second straight that shows the race being within a one-point margin, but with the leaders flipped: their early June poll showed 43% of voters backed Biden and 44% for Trump.
The poll also shows some troubling signs for Trump’s standing among independents in Texas.
Quinnipiac’s poll finds 51% of independents said they plan to vote for Biden and 32% for Trump. In 2016, CNN Exit Polling found 52% of independents in the state supported Trump and 38% for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In the new poll, 45% of Texas voters approve of Trump’s handling of his job as president, 51% disapprove. Around the same share of Texas voters approve of his handling of coronavirus – 45% approve, 51% disapprove. Almost half (48%) approve of how Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has handled his job, 48% approve of US Sen. Ted Cruz, and 41% approve of US Sen. John Cornyn, both of whom are Republicans.
While Texas is dealing with a massive uptick in coronavirus cases as the pandemic grips the southern and southwestern United States, it is not the top issue for voters in the Lone Star State.
The economy is the most important issue for Texas voters in deciding who to support for the election for president – 35% chose that issue, more than the 22% who chose coronavirus and 12% who said racial inequality.
Trump leads Biden over who would do a better job handling the economy (56% for Trump, 40% for Biden), while the two are close on handling the response to coronavirus (48% Biden, 45% Trump), handling health care (47% for Trump, 47% for Biden) and handling a crisis (47% for Trump, 47% for Biden). Voters prefer Biden on addressing racial inequality (51% Biden, 39% Trump).
Around three-quarters of voters (74%) say that the spread of coronavirus in Texas is a serious problem, including 95% of Democrats, 81% of independents, and 55% of Republicans. More than half – 52% – think the governor reopened the economy too quickly, 13% too slowly and 33% at the right pace.
A slight majority (53%) don’t want the governor to issue a stay-at-home order, and 44% do. More than two-thirds (68%) say local officials should be allowed to issue stay-at-home orders for their areas.
Eight in 10 voters approve of Abbott’s order that requires most people in Texas to wear a face mask in public, including 95% of Democrats, 87% of independents and 64% of Republicans.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 16-20 in Texas among a random sample of 880 registered voters. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.