Democrats Have Edge in Texas House Battle
with Biden Up by Seven in 34 Swing Districts
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
September 4, 2020
A new Texas poll shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by seven points in 34 swing districts that will determine who controls the west wing of the state Capitol in 2021.
Forty-five percent of likely Texas voters favored a generic Democratic candidate over a hypothetical Republican foe in the competitive state House races in question compared to 42 percent who said they'd vote for the GOP contender in the survey that the progressive New Jersey organization Data for Progress conducted here for five days late last month.
The Data for Progress poll of 2.295 likely Texas voters focused on 22 House districts that Republicans are attempting to defend in the November 3 general election and a dozen more that Democrats flipped from red to blue in 2018. Democrats have an opportunity to take the Legislature's lower chamber back with a net gain of nine seats at the polls less than two months from now.
The poll found Biden up on Trump by three points statewide with support from 48 percent of the Texans in the survey that was taken using online web panels. U.S. Senator John Cornyn was ahead of Democratic MJ Hegar by a half-dozen points with 48 percent support in the Data for Progress survey.
Cornyn had been leading by no less than 9 points in a handful of polls that had taken since the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in Texas in early March. The Data for Progress poll marked the first time that Hegar has cracked 40 percent in the fight with the veteran Republican incumbent during the pandemic.
Republican Jim Wright led Democrat Crysta Casteneda by six points statewide with 41 percent support in the Data for Progress survey in an open race for one of the three seats on the Texas Railroad Commission. But Wright's lead shrunk to three when the sample was narrowed down to the 34 targeted state House districts.
Cornyn was up on on Hegar by a mere 2 points in the 34 Texas House districts in question.
While the Data for Progress poll painted a more optimistic picture for the Democrats than their partisan adversaries, it was the latest piece of evidence that suggests that the battle for president in the Lone Star State has thriller potential and could swing either way.
Trump's re-election bid will be dead if he fails to carry Texas in November. But Texas could be irrelevant regardless who wins here at the top of the ticket if Biden holds the leads that he has in other major swing states that the president has to win.
A Fox News poll on Friday found Biden with a 9 point lead on Trump in Arizona. Biden has been running ahead of the president in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin as well.
Trump has received 45.5 percent support on average in 13 polls that have been taken in Texas during the pandemic compared to 44.6 percent for Biden. But Trump and Biden have been favored by 45.4 percent and 45.3 percent on average respectively in eight Texas polls in the past three months.