With just 21 days to go until the election, a new statewide poll by the University of Houston shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat in the state.
The survey released Tuesday shows Trump now holding just a three-point lead over Clinton, 41 percent to 38 percent. That’s the same difference as the margin of error. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had 4 percent support, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein had 1 percent.
Since 2000, every Republican presidential candidate has carried Texas by at least 11 percent. The big question now: will the historically red Lone Star State go blue this election?
For Jalen Lewis and many other UH undergraduates, the 2016 election is their first chance to choose America’s next leader.
“I actually (registered) the last minute,” Lewis said. “They had the tables out, it was raining, but I ran over there to register to vote.”
While Lewis and many other students KHOU spoke with Tuesday are excited about the opportunity to vote, some of their fellow Cougars aren’t as thrilled.
“Not as excited as I should be, I think” said Janely Toledo, a UH student and first-time voter.
“I don’t know if I really agree much with what either of them,” said Lauren Lozano, another UH student and first-time voter.
Their own school found they’re not alone. The UH survey released Tuesday shows 16 percent of the 1,000 registered voters across Texas are either undecided, don’t favor any of the candidates listed or refused to say who they support. That’s a big chunk of voters that could sway the election either way.
“A good number of voters are undecided, almost 11 percent, but this is a statistical dead heat,” said Bob Stein, KHOU 11’s Political Analyst.
Stein helped conduct the survey, which found many Texans don’t care for either major party candidate. It shows 48 percent of Texans viewing Trump as “highly unfavorable," and 47 percent holding the same negative feelings about Clinton. Only 19 percent of Texans surveyed rated Trump as “very favorable" with 23 percent giving Clinton the same rating.
“I did think that I should vote, and was going to, but not anymore after watching the second debate,” said Alexandria Rodriguez, a UH student and first-time voter. “I’m Christian, so I can’t morally vote for Hillary, and Trump is just a really bad candidate, in my opinion.”
However, Rodriguez says she’ll still vote down-ballot, even though she and other students say their first trip to the polls won’t look quite the way they imagined.
“I think it matters, so I guess I’m excited to be one vote and one voice,” Lozano said.
Stein says he doesn’t think Hillary Clinton will win Texas, but he believes her margin of defeat here will be much smaller than any presidential candidate since 1992, margins he believes will help Democrats in down-ballot races, like those for Harris County District Attorney and Sheriff.
The survey results are based on live telephone interviews with 1,000 registered Texas voters who reported that they were certain to vote (77 percent) or very likely to vote (23 percent) on or before Election Day. A press release states that the sample “was weighted to reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the electorate based on the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.”
(© 2016 KHOU)