Longtime Democrat predictions of "turning Texas blue" have turned out to be wishful thinking, but the dream is alive again in 2020. Based on the Dems' strong statewide showing in the 2018 midterms and one new poll showing a neck-and-neck race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the Lone Star State, Democrats are feeling frisky for a real fight in Texas this fall.
The message from one political expert who predicted Donald Trump's 2016 victory: it is far too early to make conclusions based on random polls. "At this time of the season, you have about as many times as not that somebody leading in the spring is going to lose in November," says Dr. Helmut Norpoth, political science professor at Stony Brook University. "So (based on polls) it's pretty much a 50-50 tossup right now."
As for the 2018 results (including Beto O'Rourke's close call with Ted Cruz), Dr. Norpoth also offers a note of caution. "2018 was sort of a lucky day for the Democrats," he says. "It was on off-year election with a Republican in the White House, so you're going to pick up votes and seats...it's a little different story in a presidential election."
Democrats have been working to reduce their large voter registration disadvantage in Texas, and Dr. Norpoth acknowledges the state's growing Hispanic population is a potential advantage for Dems moving forward. "Texas may be moving in the direction of Arizona and California," he tells KTRH. "I mean, the whole demographic picture is just shifting very quickly."
Nevertheless, Dr. Norputh's system, known as the primary model, foresees a Trump victory in 2020 just as it did four years ago. "The prediction is that Donald Trump has a 91 percent chance of winning in November, and that's in the Electoral College," he says. "I don't even worry about the popular vote."