For the first time in decades, Texas is getting a lot of attention in the presidential race.
It’s hard to say whether the narrowing polls will pan out, but it’s at the very least captured the attention of some of the nation’s election night experts who will call each state for the candidates.
FOX 4 spoke with Arnon Mishkin, who leads the FOX News Decision Desk.
You have to look back to Jimmy Carter to find the last Democratic presidential candidate to take Texas.
After 1976, Texas turned reliably red.
“Yes, I think it’s clear that Texas is a more interesting state this presidential election than it has been for quite a while,” Mishkin explained.
Voters line up to cast their ballots on Super Tuesday March 1, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Mishkin will be behind the scenes of FOX News’ election night coverage Tuesday.
He leads the decision desk team that’ll analyze election returns, combined with survey data, to determine which states go red or blue in the race to 270 electoral votes.
He expects democratic votes could create a blue mirage in Texas early on in the night.
“We believe that more likely in Texas, that early report is going to be mail in vote and early vote, the early reports, which is going to skew more Biden than the final state results are,” Mishkin said.
A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows President Donald Trump with a little more than a two point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in Texas.
The RCP average going into 2016 had Trump up 12 points.
He ultimately won by nine.
He also won Tarrant County by nine, but it is the county north of Tarrant, that’s piqued Mishkin’s interest.
“The county I’m most interested in in Texas right now is Denton County, which is suburban Dallas. That has shown a record turnout in the early vote. That is really puzzling and, you know, one of the findings from 2018 was how suburban women had become much more democratic and so that’s the one county, when you look at the numbers and say what is going on in Texas?” Mishkin said,
In 2016, Trump carried Denton County by 20 points.
In the tight 2018 U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, Cruz lead by eight points.
While the results won’t be immediate, because of how states like Texas, Florida, and Ohio count mail-in votes, we should have a good idea of how they’re going on election night.
And for Mishkin, they have something else in common.
“Florida and Ohio, like Texas, are states that Trump must win in order to get to 270,” he said.