Biden Texas Lead Over Trump Dwindles as Dems Aim to Turn Lone Star State Blue

A new Texas poll shows that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's lead over President Donald Trump is closing, as Democrats work towards winning the Lone Star State for the first time since 1976.

A blue Texas would mean almost certain defeat for Trump, who is already struggling to boost his poll numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic, economic turmoil and nationwide unrest over institutionalized racism and inequality.

Democrats are eyeing Texas's 38 Electoral College votes and Sen. John Cornyn's seat, which is also up for grabs on November 3. If challenger Mary Jennings Hegar can unseat Cornyn, it would be a huge step in the Democratic effort to re-establish its Senate majority.

But a new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows that Trump is closing Biden's lead. The former vice president is now ahead 44-43 with all registered Texas voters, down from a 5-point lead two months ago.

The poll—conducted with 1,176 registered voters between August 28 and September 2—found that Trump is leading 48-46 among the 901 respondents who said they were "extremely likely" to vote in November. Biden also led this group by 5 points two months ago.

The margin of error is plus or minus 2.85 percentage points for all registered voters, and 3.22 points for the subset of "extremely likely" voters.

Trump won Texas four years ago by 9 points—the worst showing for a Republican candidate since President Gerald Ford lost the state in 1976. Democrats have embarked on a huge voter registration drive hoping voters of color and young people can flip the state.

The Democrats have not won a statewide election since 1994, and for now Cornyn looks set to retain his Senate seat. Cornyn leads Hegar 39-28 among likely voters in the News/UT-Tyler poll, with 28 percent of respondents still undecided. Cornyn comfortably won re-election six years ago with 62 percent of the vote.

Trump allies remain publicly confident they will again carry Texas. Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser, said last week Biden would have to spend "6 million bucks in Texas," which he said is unlikely.

"I think it would be great if he did. I'd welcome him to it," Miller told reporters. "Texas TV stations would love to have it." Former campaign manager Brad Parscale, meanwhile, said Biden's campaign in Texas is "smoke and mirrors."

But with Biden ahead in the national polls, Democrats believe states like Texas, Georgia and Arizona are in play. At a press briefing Saturday, the Biden campaign showed an electoral map with all three colored light pink to mark them as "expand" states.

"We really feel like all of these states are legitimately in play," said Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon.

As of Friday, polling website fivethirtyeight.com had Biden as slightly favored to win Arizona. The website had Trump slightly favored to win Georgia and favored to win Texas.

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A volunteer worker of Harris County Democratic Party holds up signs to support Joe Biden during a drive-in DNC watch event on August 20 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images/Getty