HOUSTON, Texas – A new poll released this week from the University of Houston (UH) reveals a tight race in the campaign for Texas’ 38 electoral votes. While voters show confidence in GOP candidate Donald Trump’s abilities to handle most issues, he leads Texas by a very small margin.
The poll from UH’s Hobby School of Public Affairs shows Trump with a three-point lead over Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton in a four-way race. Eleven percent of the voters polled still had not made up their minds and two percent refused to answer. Three percent of those polled said they would prefer none of the above.
The poll of 1,000 voters who said they were “certain to vote” (77 percent) or “very likely to vote” (23 percent) gave Trump a three-point lead over Clinton (41-38 percent) with a +/- three percent margin of error in the poll. The polling organization stated it weighted the sample to “reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the electorate based on the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.”
Texas Southern University Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Jordan-Leland School of Public Affairs Jay Aiyer spoke with Breitbart Texas about the poll’s importance.
“The poll reinforces a trend we have seen in other statewide polling away for Trump and towards Clinton,” Aiyer said. “In particular—Independent voters are clearly breaking heavily towards her in the last few weeks.”
“The turnout model reflects 2008 and 2012 trends—but may not factor in the surge in registration, particularly Latino voters this cycle, he explained. “This should be an alarming poll for Texas Republicans—particularly down ballot candidates. In Harris County—Democrats are well positioned for a sweep and once reliably ‘red’ Fort Bend County may switch to the Ds in large part because of the erosion of support from the Asian-American community.”
Preference aside, respondents believed Trump would do a better job of handling immigration, terrorism, the economy, crime, healthcare, and Washington gridlock. Clinton only polled higher on the Environment and Foreign Policy.
Despite the close result, pollsters reported that most of those contacted believe that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Even among Republicans polled, only 42 percent believed Trump would win the national election.
Clinton’s lead among Democrat voters polled was surprising in that only 80 percent said they would be voting for their party’s nominee. Eighteen percent of Democrats polled said they had not made up their mind or would be voting for someone else.
Independent voters said they supported Clinton by a 16-point margin but 30 percent said they had still not decided.
Trump’s strongest support comes from male voters where he maintains a nine-point lead. He trails Clinton by four points among female voters. More women than men have yet to decide who to vote for (14 percent to 9 percent).
Among those claiming to be “certain to vote,” Trump leads by a four-point margin (42-39) while the race is a dead heat among those claiming to be “very likely to vote.” In the “very likely” camp, 17 percent have yet to decide while only 9 percent of those certain to vote remain undecided.
A majority of both parties rated Trump and Clinton as “very unfavorable,” or “somewhat unfavorable” (56 percent and 54 percent respectively).
Negative news reports on the candidates could have the effect of suppressing voter turnout for both candidates.
“I did think that I should vote, and was going to, but not anymore after watching the second debate,” Alexandria Rodriguez, a UH student and first-time voter told KHOU. “I’m Christian, so I can’t morally vote for Hillary, and Trump is just a really bad candidate, in my opinion.” The UH student said she will still come out to vote for the down ballot candidates.
“A good number of voters are undecided, almost 11 percent, but this is a statistical dead heat,” KHOU Political Analyst Bob Stein stated in an interview. Stein was involved in conducting the poll.
Stein concluded his interview saying that he did not believe Clinton would carry the Lone Star State but that the election would be tighter than any race since 1992 when incumbent President George H.W. Bush narrowly defeated challenger Bill Clinton by a 3.5 percent margin. In that race, third party challenger Ross Perot took 22 percent of the vote. Stein said the close presidential race in Texas could impact the local races like those for the Harris County Sheriff, District Attorney and District Court judges.