While swing staters will decide the presidential election, most Texans have have already made up their minds. According to a new poll by Baselice & Associates, both Mitt Romney and Republican Senate nominee Ted Cruz have comfortable leads.
At the presidential level, Mitt Romney has a 54-38 lead over Barack Obama. That 16 point lead has almost doubled from 9 points earlier in the race. Romney leads among Texas independents, 50-29. John McCain defeated Obama in Texas in 2008 by 12 points, 55-43. Based on the lack of enthusiasm for McCain’s candidacy in Texas plus the punitive treatment Obama has thrown Texas’ way, we should expect to see Romney performing better than McCain did here, and he is. Romney is also doing well among Hispanics in Texas, capturing 40% of the vote to Obama’s 49%. Obama picks up 91% of the black vote in Texas, and leads among women, while Romney leads among whites and men.
In the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican Ted Cruz enjoys a commanding lead over Democrat Paul Sadler. Cruz leads by 18 points, 51-33. Once the numbers are teased out, Cruz is picking up 47% of the Hispanic vote to 53% for Sadler. Republicans hope, and Democrats fear, that Senator Cruz could be a game-changer for demographically-changing Texas. The numbers suggest that he has a very good shot at that.
Overall, the only suspense in Texas elections this year will be at the congressional, state House and local levels. History and redistricting suggest the Republicans will lose a few seats here and there but retain their majorities in the US House delegation and in the legislature. Mitt Romney will scoop up the Lone Star State’s 36 electoral votes, and Texans will send Ted Cruz to represent them in the United States Senate. On Nov. 7, Texas will remain solidly red, and if Obama wins, some of that red will be driven by anger at the rest of the country for re-electing a man who treats our state with open hostility.
One reason that Texas is so strongly in the Republican corner, writes Texas political journalist Paul Burka, is the man in the White House.
The lesson here is that the worst thing that can happen to the state Democratic Party, or what’s left of it, is to have an unpopular Democratic president in the White House. The Democratic brand is ruined in Texas. The last Democrat to carry Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976, and he was defeated in the Reagan landslide of 1980.
No Democrat has won a statewide office in Texas since 1994. Texas has supported the Republican presidential candidate every year since 1980. That history plus the wrecked Democrat brand in Texas did not stop Mad Money man Jim Cramer from handing Texas to Obama on Nov. 6 in his electoral vote prediction map, though. Evidently Mr. Cramer has never set foot in Texas and knows nothing about what makes the state tick.