• A Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday placed President Donald Trump and Joe Biden level in Texas, with both candidates polling at 47% among likely voters.
  • The poll asked 1,145 likely voters about their views on the candidates. The replies showed that a very slight majority disapproved of the president's handling of the coronavirus.
  • The poll is a slight outlier compared with forecasts by FiveThirtyEight and Decision Desk HQ, which favor Trump to win narrowly.
  • A Democrat win in Texas would be a huge upset. The party has not held the state since 1976, when Jimmy Carter won the election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new poll places President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden currently neck and neck in the otherwise reliably red state of Texas. 

The two candidates polled at 47% each in the state in a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University between October 16 and 19.

The poll asked likely voters who they would pick if the election were being held that day.

"Biden and Trump find themselves in a Texas stand-off, setting the stage for a bare knuckle battle for 38 electoral votes," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. 

The poll gave a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points. This means that the pollsters believe the result reflects possibilities as wide as Biden 50%—Trump 44%; to Trump 50%—Biden 44%, to win the state.

A race this close in Texas is remarkable even if Trump does win.

A Democrat victory in Texas would at one stage have been unthinkable. Republicans have won Texas in every presidential election after 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter triumphed there.

The poll's apparent evenness between presidential candidates is a slight outlier compared to forecasts. In FiveThirtyEight's forecast, which combines the results of numerous trusted pollsters, Trump is slightly favoured to win Texas as of Thursday.

A forecast from Decision Desk HQ, a company which processes election results for the media, gave Trump a 61% chance of winning the state as of Thursday.

The poll asked 1,145 Texans numerous questions about their views on the two candidates and their voting intentions.

Asked how they felt about Trump's handling of the coronavirus, 46% approved and 51% disapproved. Of his presidency overall, they were more split, with 49% approving and 48% disapproving. 

Separate to their voting intention, the sampled Texans were also asked to rate each candidate as "favourable" or "unfavourable" (as well as "haven't heard enough"). Trump was rated more favourably (48%) than Biden (44%).

This was a small improvement for Biden compared with a September poll, while Trump's favourability remained essentially unchanged, the pollsters said. 

56% of polled likely voters said that Biden cares about average Americans, compared to 38% who said he doesn't. Trump's rating here was more divided, with 51% saying he does and 47% saying he doesn't.

The poll also found that 69% of the Texans sampled said they were going to vote early, or had already voted early.

As Business Insider's Oma Seddiq and Madison Hall reported, Texas has already exceeded the rest of the country for turnout. 

18% said they would vote in person on Election Day and 12% said they were planning, or had already done, a mail-in vote. 

In the Senate race between Republican John Cornyn and Democrat M.J. Hegar, the incumbent Cornyn led Hegar 49-43 amongst the polled likely voters.  

Quinnipiac University is rated a B+ in an analysis of pollsters conducted by FiveThirtyEight, which rates them according to the historical accuracy and methodology of their work. 

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