April 10, 2020

Texas Coin Flip in Poll that Shows Significant Biden
Leads in Other Big Swing States in Potential Blowout

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

The Democrats could be on the verge of taking back the south with Texas as the most lucrative prize in a potential blue landslide based on a new poll that attempts to gauge the shifting sentiment of voters during their first month in seclusion as the coronavirus terrorizes the world.

Texas is one of 10 states that are classified as purple in the Microsoft News and Research survey that was conducted over a six-week period that ended on Thursday. The poll found presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by a single point in Texas with 45 percent support.

Biden also led Trump in Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi by narrow margins in the poll that found the former vice-president up on the president by four points in Ohio and Montana.

One of the few bright spots for the GOP in the COVID-19 era survey had Republicans as a whole ahead of the Democrats by 3 points in Texas in a generic 2020 ballot test of partisan preferences. Forty-eight percent of the Texas participants indicated that they would be more likely to vote for the GOP nominee in down-ballot contests.

But Trump could emerge victorious in Texas and the other southern states and still fall significantly short in the Electoral College without a substantial surge between now and November in a half-dozen major swing states that he carried in 2016 and trails Biden now by margins that range from 6 points to 12 points in the Microsoft poll.

The survey found the voters in only eight states leaning toward Trump with Tennessee and Idaho as the only two marked as solid red. Seventeen states are solid blue on the Microsoft poll map.

But the survey suggests that Trump faces his most imposing challenge in seven states that are leaning in Biden's direction less than four years after the incumbent beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in those places.

Biden leads Trump in Michigan and Florida by 12 points and 11 points respectively. The Microsoft survey shows Biden ahead of the president by 13 points in Pennsylvania and 11 points in North Carolina. Trump trails his future Democratic foe by 9 points in Wisconsin, 6 points in Arizona and 7 points in Iowa.

A comparative Capitol Inside analysis of the Microsoft survey and the electoral vote in 2016 found that Biden would be elected with 352 votes in the Electoral College compared to 179 for Trump even if the president carried all of the purple states but failed to prevail in those that are light blue. That doesn't include four of the smallest states that are shaded in gray with a lack of data for credible measurements.

Trump's re-election hopes would be buried under a Democratic avalanche if Biden won in every purple and blue state where he's leading the incumbent in the Microsoft poll. Biden would claim at least 444 electoral votes under such a scenario that could would put the 2020 vote in the same basic league with the elections that Texas Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson and California Republican Ronald Reagan won in 1964 and 1980 with 486 and 489 Electoral College votes respectively.

Republican Richard Nixon and Reagan won second terms in the two biggest landslides in the past 50 years with 520 and 525 electoral votes respectively.

It's been exactly 100 years, however, since a presidential election was held in the aftermath of a pandemic on par with the coronavirus. Republican Warren G. Harding beat Democrat James Cox with 444 electoral votes in 2020 less than two years after the Spanish flu raced across the world and left 650,000 Americans dead in its path.


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