Elections

2016 Election: Trump voters keep Texas solidly red

President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump AP

As Donald Trump prepares for his move into the White House next year, Texans can rest assured that they helped put him there.

And, in doing so, they kept the state solidly red.

While some thought Texas might at least turn purple this election year, election results show a sea of red counties in the presidential election with the occasional blue blip in areas such as Dallas, Austin, Houston, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.

Texas Democrats note that Democrat Hillary Clinton picked up more than 3.8 million votes here, accomplishing “the closest presidential margin in two decades.”

Still, the former reality TV star and New York businessman won the vote of more than 4.6 million Texans — primarily white men and women in nearly all age groups who earn $50,000 or more a year, election records and exit polls show.

“Change was on the voters’ minds,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Most Texans wanted a candidate who could bring change and Trump won these voters by big, decisive margins.”

But in the end, with most of the votes counted, 52 percent of the state supported Trump and 43 percent supported Clinton. And the reliably red Lone Star State gave the now Republican president-elect 38 electoral votes.

Former President George W. Bush, who lives in Dallas, wasn’t one of the Texans who voted for Trump, but he did call him Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his win.

“Laura and I wish the President-elect, Melania, and the entire Trump family all our very best as they take on an awesome responsibility and begin an exciting new chapter in their lives,” Bush said in a statement. “We pray for the success of our country and the success of our new President.”

Texas trends

Here’s a look at some of the Texas voting trends, according to CNN exit polls.

▪ Trump drew support from both men and women — 58 percent of men, 48 percent of women.

▪ Seventy percent of white voters gave Trump their vote, as 85 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of Latinos and 72 percent of Asians supported Clinton.

▪ Trump won Texas with support from nearly all age groups, but not with younger voters under the age of 29. Fifty-five percent of the younger voters supported Clinton.

▪ Trump won among Texans of all educational backgrounds, from those who didn’t have a college degree to those with postgraduate degrees. And he won among Texans making bigger salaries. Only a majority of those earning less than $50,000 said they voted for Clinton.

▪ A majority of Republicans and Independents voted for Trump; 93 percent of Democrats supported Clinton.

▪ And more than 85 percent of evangelical Christians and white born- again Texans supported Trump.

“One thing that jumps out is Trump’s strong performance among Latinos,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, who reviewed election results. “The Latino share of the electorate increased as expected due to demographic trends to 24 percent of voters, up from 22 percent in 2012 and 20 percent in 2008.

“And, in spite of widespread Democratic predictions to the contrary, Trump won one-third of the Latino vote, notably below Greg Abbott’s performance in 2014, but notably above Mitt Romney in 2012,” he said. “Trump enjoyed particularly strong support among Latino men.”

Trump made several campaign and fundraising stops in Texas during the past 18 months. He held several rallies in North Texas, including one in Fort Worth on Feb. 26.

‘A sellable basket of issues’

CNN’s exit polls show that more than half of the Texans who voted for Trump knew they would vote for him in September or before. Around half of Clinton’s supporters said they knew they would vote for her either in the last few days or last month.

Texas Trump supporters were unhappy or angry with the federal government and they disapproved of Barack Obama as president. They said Trump was honest and trustworthy and Clinton was not, poll results showed.

“Americans voted for Republicans because of a promise to go to Washington to reverse our current course, and end the Washington cartel — a promise to drain the swamp,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “Now is the time to follow through on those words with action. We cannot wait even one day to begin implementing a conservative agenda that fulfills those commitments.”

Texans said Trump’s top qualities were that he can bring change and he cares about people. Texans who supported Clinton said the qualities she had that mattered most were good judgment and the right experience, but a majority of Trump supporters believed the Republican would be best to handle the economy and foreign policy.

A majority of Texans said illegal immigrants working in the United States should be deported — and they support a wall along the entire Mexican border.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he looks forward to working with Trump and his administration “to ensure that we secure our border, restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government and end the federal overreach that has unfortunately become a staple of the outgoing executive’s legacy.

“Here in Texas, we will continue to fight for conservative, limited government principles that create economic opportunity and prosperity for all,” Abbott said.

Immigration and terrorism were among the top issues Trump supporters in Texas said face the country, compared with Clinton supporters who believed the economy and foreign policy were the top issues.

“Immigration and terrorism issues were atop voters’ minds and Trump won these voters in big numbers,” Rottinghaus said. “This has been the issue profile of Republicans in Texas and a sellable basket of issues to Republican voters.”

The CNN exit polls were based on responses by 2,827 Texans throughout the state, including those in the Fort Worth/Dallas region. Of the local respondents, 49 percent said they supported Clinton, 47 percent said they supported Trump and 4 percent said other or gave no answer.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Presidential votes in Texas and Tarrant County

Candidate

Texas

Tarrant County

Donald Trump

52.46 percent

51.78 percent

Hillary Clinton

43.27 percent

43.12 percent

Gary Johnson

3.16 percent

3.55 percent

Jill Stein

.79 percent

.81 percent

Source: Texas Secretary of State, Tarrant County Elections

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