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In 2018, O’Rourke came close to unseating Sen. Ted Cruz (R), earning 48.3 percent of the vote to Cruz’s 50.9 percent. In the last weeks leading up to the election, though, the polls put Cruz ahead by an average of six points. Two years later, Biden enjoys consistent, higher polling averages than O’Rourke did in 2018. If the way Texas Democrats have outperformed polling in the last four presidential election cycles is any guide, the Trump campaign — and his Republican Party — have every reason to be worried.
The repeated failure of polls to accurately predict voters’ actual choices not only reflects pollsters’ difficulty in sampling a rapidly changing electorate, but also the years of organizing by tireless activists on the ground in Texas to turn out less-than-likely voters, particularly Latino, Black, Asian and young voters. That work continues today. This cycle, groups such as Powered by People, MOVE Texas and the Texas Organizing Project have contacted tens of millions of voters and registered over 240,000 new ones. Just since 2016, Texas has added 1,516,349 voters to the registration rolls, nearly double Trump’s margin of victory in 2016 of 807,179 voters. While third party candidates took about 4 percent of the vote, or about 350,000 votes in 2016, they are expected to receive much less of the votes in 2020, improving Biden’s chances.