Why Texas stayed red in the 2020 presidential election

HOUSTON, Texas -- Voters in Texas gave President Donald Trump its 38 electoral votes, while holding negative views about the country's direction, according to an expansive AP survey of the American electorate.

The race between Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden concluded Tuesday as the nation remains in the throes of a global public health crisis and mired in the economic downturn it brought on. AP VoteCast found that nearly three-fifths of Texas voters said the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction and about two-fifths said it is on the right track.

AP called Texas for Trump in the presidential race.

Based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of about 133,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,888 voters and 792 nonvoters in Texas -- conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

TRUMP VS BIDEN

In the race for president, Biden led Trump among voters under 45, but Trump was preferred among older voters.

Both Black voters and Latino voters were more likely to favor Biden. Trump had an advantage over Biden among white voters.

Republican presidential candidates have won the state going back 40 years, but shifting suburbs and a booming population had raised Democrats' hopes.

Corbin Clark, 29, a forklift driver, said Tuesday was the first time he had ever voted. Clark voted for Biden at a community center in Acres Homes, a historically African-American neighborhood in northwest Houston.

Clark said he didn't know why he hadn't previously voted.

"My momma got on my case," Clark said as he laughed. "She told me I needed to go vote and use my voice."

Voters in cities were more likely to prefer Biden. Trump had an advantage among voters in small towns and rural areas. Suburban voters were divided between Trump and Biden.

RACE FOR SENATE

Republican incumbent John Cornyn won his bid for a fourth term, defeating Democrat Mary 'MJ' Hegar.

Republicans have held both Texas Senate seats since 1993. Cornyn has been one of Trump's most stalwart backers in the Senate. Hegar is an Air Force veteran who narrowly lost a U.S. House race in 2018.

Hegar had an advantage over John Cornyn among voters under 45. Cornyn was preferred over Hegar among older voters.

Cornyn was preferred among white voters while Hegar led Cornyn among both Black voters and Latino voters.

Suburban voters modestly preferred Cornyn. Cornyn was preferred among voters in small towns and rural areas. Hegar was preferred among voters in cities.

FACING THE PANDEMIC

Texas has surpassed California in recording the highest number of positive coronavirus tests in the U.S., so far, with close to 940,000 cases, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

James Price, 55, a forklift mechanic from the Houston suburb of Tomball, said the coronavirus pandemic is the most serious issue facing the United States, and he voted for Biden because he believes Trump has terribly mishandled the response to the pandemic.

"We need to start listening to the scientists and the doctors so we can find out how to eradicate this," Price said.

The coronavirus pandemic has spread through the U.S. for roughly eight months, killing more than 230,000 Americans. Overall, about two in 10 Texas voters said the virus in the U.S. is completely or mostly under control, and three in 10 said it's somewhat under control. Almost half of voters think the coronavirus is not at all under control in this country.

ON THE ISSUES

The coronavirus pandemic was top of mind for many voters in Texas. Almost two-fifths said it is the most important issue facing the country today.

Voters also considered the economy a major issue, with almost three in 10 saying it ranked at the top.

About one in 10 named health care and the same number named racism, while 4% named law enforcement.

Steve Steenson, 58, a window installer who lives in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, voted for Trump.

"I think he's a little crude and rough around the edges but I'm more interested in the deeds than the words. I just cringe when he opens his mouth but he seems to have the country really in his heart, our best interest," Steenson said.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

Voters were slightly negative in their assessments of the nation's economy. Overall, more than half called economic conditions in the U.S. not so good or poor, and almost half described them as excellent or good.

Cheryl North, 71, a retired antiques dealer from Dallas, said she liked what Trump was able to achieve with the economy before the pandemic and thinks it's "quickly going back in that direction now."

"I think in four more years, it will only get better," North said.

Eboni Price, 29, who owns a business that specializes in the care of horses, used a different form of transportation to get to her polling site on Tuesday: her trusty horse Moon. Price, who is studying to be a veterinarian, said she voted for Kanye West in the presidential race.

"I think he's a happy medium for both of them honestly. He's younger. He doesn't have any experience and the people who don't have experience in that position will be the best because they're going to do what it takes not to fail," Price said.
Copyright © 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.