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Beto has a good chance of beating Trump in Texas in 2020

Beto O'Rourke speaks during the general session at the Texas Democratic Convention
AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez
Lone Star candidate.
  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Beto O’Rourke, the former US congressman who almost won a Senate seat last year representing Texas, is now vying for the White House. The native of El Paso, Texas is expected to announce soon whether he’s jumping into the 2020 presidential race.

Polls show he has a pretty good chance of beating Donald Trump, at least in his home state, where he’s polling one percentage point behind the president, according to a new Quinnipiac survey.

Such close odds in deeply Republican Texas vouch for the excitement O’Rourke generated during his campaign against senator Ted Cruz last year. They’re also a sign of Trump’s sagging popularity. Even self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders would give Trump a run for his money in the Lone Star state, based on the poll, which was conducted last month.

Beto O’Rourke
46
47
Joe Biden
46
47
Bernie Sanders
45
47
Kamala Harris
41
48
Elizabeth Warren
41
48
Julián Castro
41
46

What about the rest of the country?

To be sure, O’Rourke is not as well known elsewhere in the US. Though he’s sat with several late-night hosts, and was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, he’s trailing behind other Democratic candidates, both potential and announced.

In California, for example, Democrats prefer Joe Biden and Kamala Harris by large margins, according to a Quinnipiac poll taken earlier this year in that state.

Joe Biden
60
Kamala Harris
58
Elizabeth Warren
44
Bernie Sanders
44
Beto O’Rourke
40
Kirsten Gillibrand
21

Turning Texas blue

During his run against Cruz, O’Rourke showed he can garner out-of-state attention, raising millions from non-Texas donors.

He also shifted the long-held notion that Texas, and its wealth of Electoral College votes, was a lost cause for Democrats. O’Rourke fell to Cruz by less than three percentage points, a rarity in a state where no Democrat has been elected to statewide office for more than two decades.

O’Rourke was able to narrow the gap, in part, by getting traditional non-voters to the polls, including young people and minorities. The Texas Quinnipiac results shed light on where support for O’Rourke stands today, and where he would need to do more work.

White men
66
28
White women
59
34
White college degree
57
35
White no college degree
69
26
65+
58
38
18-34
34
56
35-49
43
52
Black
7
86
Hispanic
33
59

Of course, it’s early days in the campaigns, and Texans—and the broader American public—have plenty of time to change their minds.

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