Research

Hispanic Texans Prove Decisive in Presidential Race

November 4, 2020

(Dallas, Texas, November 4, 2020) – Hispanic Texans played a pivotal role in helping President Donald Trump carry the state in Tuesday’s election, just as a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll in August suggested they would.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, significantly underperformed previous Democratic candidates in a number of Texas counties with large Hispanic populations, ultimately dashing Democratic hopes of perhaps carrying Texas in a presidential race for the first time since 1976.

“One of the reasons Trump won Texas is because he cut into traditional Hispanic support for Democrats,” said Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation President Jason Villalba. “If Biden had met or slightly exceeded traditional Democratic performance among Hispanic Texans, he might have carried the state. Hispanic Texans proved their importance as a voting bloc.”

In August, THPF and the Rice University Baker Institute released a poll showing Biden leading Trump among Hispanic Texans by 9.5 percentage points. By comparison, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won Hispanic Texans by 27 percentage points against Trump, according to exit polls.

An October 1 projection of the 2020 Texas Hispanic vote by the THPF based on the data from the August survey and aggregate voter data projected that Trump would win Texas 52% to 47% and that Biden would win 58% of the Hispanic vote to 41% for Trump. As of November 4, Trump is ahead in Texas 52% to 46% (with 92% of the vote counted) and the national exit poll data currently indicate that in Texas Biden won 59% of the Hispanic vote and Trump won 40% of the Hispanic vote.

Mark P. Jones, the TXHPF Director of Research and Analytics noted, “Donald Trump’s victory in Texas is due in large part to his substantial support among the state’s diverse Hispanic electorate. In the pivotal Rio Grande Valley counties of Hidalgo and Cameron, where 82% and 79% of registered voters are Hispanic, Trump won 41% and 43% of the vote amidst turnout that was notably higher than four years ago when Trump won only 28% and 32% of the vote in Hidalgo and Cameron respectively.”

“Democrats still have an advantage with Hispanic Texans, but they did not get the support from those voters that Biden needed to carry the state,” Villalba said. “Both parties would be wise to prioritize their outreach to Hispanic voters. Democrats should be asking why their support in heavily Hispanic areas fell so dramatically, and Republicans will need to make further progress with Hispanics if they want to continue their dominance in the state. Hispanic voters are only going to become more influential in Texas. The party that is best at reaching Hispanic voters will have a major advantage in future elections.”

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About the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation
The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation operates as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated and committed to analyzing and exploring the political, economic, social, demographic, and familial attitudes and behaviors of Texas Hispanics. In collaboration with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Foundation conducts surveys, polls, research, data collection and analysis concerning the Hispanic population in Texas. You can find more information about the Foundation at www.TxHPF.org.

THPF Analysis: Hispanic Voters Will Decide Texas

October 1, 2020

Biden could win the state with two-thirds of Hispanic vote

(Dallas, Texas, October 1, 2020)– Hispanic voters are poised to determine which presidential candidate carries Texas in the November 3 election, according to a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation analysis of polling, historical results and turnout projections.

The THPF analysis projects that former Vice President Joe Biden could narrowly win Texas by capturing two-thirds of the Hispanic vote in the state. This would be a slight improvement on the performance of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost the state overall but won 61% of the Hispanic vote, according to exit polls.

But based on polling conducted in August, THPF projects that President Donald Trump will narrow the gap among Hispanic voters enough to win Texas.

“Hispanic voters will decide who wins Texas,” said THPF President Jason Villalba, a former state representative from Dallas. “While we expect the majority of Hispanics will support Biden, the size of that majority will determine who will receive Texas’ 38 electoral votes. A surge in Hispanic support for Biden could turn the state blue. Both campaigns should be taking Hispanic Texans very seriously right now.”

The THPF August poll showed Biden leading Trump by 9.5 percentage points among Hispanic voters. Other polls have also given Biden a similar lead. For example, a Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Biden leading Trump by 8 points among Texas Hispanics.

Based on the August polling, THPF Director of Research and Analytics Mark P. Jones of Rice University projects that Biden will win 58 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas and that Trump will carry the state with 52 percent of the overall vote.

However, if Biden surpasses Clinton’s 2016 performance and wins two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, he will narrowly carry Texas, Jones projects.

“Biden can win Texas, but only if he is able to boost his support among Hispanics during the homestretch of the campaign,” Jones said. “So far, Biden has not performed as well among Texas Hispanics as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, and that works to Trump’s advantage.”

THPF, using exit polls and voter file reports, projects that Hispanics will make up 27% of the electorate in Texas this year — up from 24% in 2016 and 22% in 2012.

“The Texas electorate is increasingly Hispanic,” Villalba said. “We will continue to see Hispanic voters having more and more influence in the presidential race and in Texas elections up and down the ballot. Given our state’s large number of electoral votes, Hispanic Texans are one of the most important voter blocs in the country right now.”

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About the Texas Hispanic Policy FoundationThe Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation operates as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated and committed to analyzing and exploring the political, economic, social, demographic, and familial attitudes and behaviors of Texas Hispanics. In collaboration with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Foundation conducts surveys, polls, research, data collection and analysis concerning the Hispanic population in Texas. You can find more information about the Foundation at www.TxHPF.org.

HISPANIC SHARE OF VOTERS CASTING A BALLOT INTEXAS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS (based on exit poll and voter file reports)

Election YearHispanic Share of Voters
199213%
199617%
200011%
200420%
200819%
201222%
201624%
2020 (Projected)27%

2016 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE FROM EXIT POLL

CandidateTotal Vote (%)Distribution of Hispanic Vote (%)
Donald Trump5234
Hillary Clinton4361
Others55

PROJECTED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE BASED ON AUGUST THPF SURVEY

CandidateTotal Vote (%)Distribution of Hispanic Vote (%)
Donald Trump5241
Joe Biden4758
Others11

ESTIMATED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL VOTEWITH BIDEN WINNING 2/3 OF HISPANIC VOTE (all else constant)

CandidateTotal Vote (%)Distribution of Hispanic Vote (%)
Donald Trump4932
Joe Biden5067
Others11

Views of State’s Virus Response Vary Widely by Race

August 24, 2020

(Dallas, Texas, August 24, 2020) – Texans are deeply divided along racial lines over whether the state has relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions too quickly and whether getting the economy going or slowing the spread of the virus should be a higher priority, according to new polling from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute.

The poll, also sponsored by the Dallas Morning News, found 44% of registered voters believe Texas has relaxed restrictions on business openings and social distancing requirements too quickly. But only 34.5% of Anglos believe things have moved too quickly, compared to 55.5% of Hispanics and 61.0% of African Americans.

Similarly, Texans are almost evenly split between those who believe the country’s top priority should be to get the economy going by sending people back to work and those who believe the top priority should be slowing the spread of the virus. However, while 77.7% of African Americans and 66.1% of Hispanics believe slowing the spread of the virus should be the top priority, only 40.2% of Anglos share that opinion.

The COVID-related findings come from a survey conducted between August 4 and August 13 among a representative sample of 846 Texas registered voters with a Hispanic oversample. The first set of results looked at voter preferences in the races for president and the U.S. Senate.

“People of color express much more concern about the speed with which Texas has lifted restrictions,” said Jason Villalba, President of the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that analyzes opinions and behaviors among Hispanic Texans. “Texans are deeply split in our evaluation of how the state has responded to the pandemic and what the priority should be going forward. These divides highlight the difficulty of building consensus around the state’s response.”

Hispanic (29.4%) and African American (23.7%) poll respondents were significantly more likely than Anglos (12.3%) to say they or an immediate family member has tested positive for COVID-19. These findings track with state and national public health data showing that minority communities are disproportionately affected by the disease.

“The coronavirus has taken a severe toll on minority communities and exacerbated inequities in health care,” said THPF Board Member and former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. “This virus has been especially devastating for Hispanics and other people of color.”

While 9 out of 10 registered voters in Texas say they are likely or extremely likely to wear a mask when entering a grocery store or other retail space, according to Dr. Mark P. Jones, the THPF Director of Research and Analytics, “a majority of Texans report they are unlikely to wear a mask when entering the home of a friend or relative, with this behavior significantly more common among Anglos than among either Hispanics or African Americans.”

About the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation
The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation operates as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated and committed to analyzing and exploring the political, economic, social, demographic, and familial attitudes and behaviors of Texas Hispanics. In collaboration with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Foundation conducts surveys, polls, research, data collection and analysis concerning the Hispanic population in Texas. You can find more information about the Foundation at www.TxHPF.org.

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Texas Hispanics Prefer Biden; Trump Leads Overall in State

August 17, 2020

(Dallas, Texas, August 17, 2020) – Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by a relatively modest margin among Hispanic voters in Texas, suggesting that Hispanics will have a pivotal role in deciding who wins the state this fall, according to new polling from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and Rice University’s Baker Institute. But Trump maintains a lead among all Texas voters.

The poll, which was also sponsored by the Dallas Morning News, shows Trump leads Biden by 7 percentage points among registered voters and by 5.4 percentage points among the state’s most likely voters. However, among registered Hispanic voters, Biden leads by 9.5 percentage points.

The survey, which was conducted between August 4 and August 13 among a representative sample of 846 Texas registered voters with a Hispanic oversample, suggests the Hispanic vote in Texas is increasingly up for grabs.

This polling is the first major research initiative of the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group established to analyze the opinions and behaviors of Hispanic Texans.

“This poll reinforces the fact that Hispanic voters are not monolithic and have a unique perspective on this race vis a vis Hispanics in other states,” said THPF President Jason Villalba. “There is a clear gender gap among Hispanic voters, as well as differences based on age, religion and educational attainment. Despite Biden’s nearly 10% lead, neither presidential candidate has yet to completely lock down the Texas Hispanic vote. For a presidential candidate to compete in Texas, clearly, Hispanics are the key constituency.”

“The results of this data show you can’t take the Hispanic vote for granted,” said former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a member of the THPF Board of Directors. “If you want our support, you better work for it.”

The race for the U.S. Senate in Texas is breaking along similar lines as the presidential contest. Republican Sen. John Cornyn leads Democratic challenger MJ Hegar by 7 percentage points among all registered voters and 6.1 percentage points among the most likely voters. But Hegar leads by 8.6 percentage points among Hispanic voters, 19.4% of whom remain undecided.

According to THPF Director of Research and Analytics Mark P. Jones, “Texas Hispanics will play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the presidential and U.S. Senate races in Texas. While these survey results indicate Republicans Donald Trump and John Cornyn are in the lead over Democrats Joe Biden and MJ Hegar, both Biden and Hegar remain within striking distance of victory.”

In the presidential race, the poll found a much wider lead for Biden among Hispanic women than Hispanic men, similar to the Democrat’s stronger performance among all women in Texas and nationally.

Specifically, the poll found that:

  • Hispanics with four Hispanic grandparents prefer Biden over Trump by a large margin, while those with one to three Hispanic grandparents only narrowly prefer Biden over Trump.
  • Hispanics who speak Spanish or equal amounts of Spanish and English at home prefer Biden, while Hispanics who speak English at home narrowly prefer Trump.
  • Hispanics who describe themselves as Catholic or lacking a religious identification prefer Biden by a wide margin, while Protestant Hispanics heavily favor Trump.
  • Hispanic Texans with at least a bachelor’s degree prefer Trump, while those who have not completed a four-year degree choose Biden.
  • Hispanics approve of the term Hispanic to refer to their community to a greater degree than Latino and to a dramatically greater degree than Latinx.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

About the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation
The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation operates as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated and committed to analyzing and exploring the political, economic, social, demographic, and familial attitudes and behaviors of Texas Hispanics. In collaboration with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Foundation conducts surveys, polls, research, data collection and analysis concerning the Hispanic population in Texas. You can find more information about the Foundation at www.TxHPF.org.

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