DALLAS/FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) -- In a state where it is generally accepted that a GOP nominee is almost guaranteed a win in a presidential election, real estate mogul and presidential nominee Donald Trump has "under-performed" in Texas according to Pollster Brian Graham of Dixie Strategies.
In the latest KTVT-CBS 11 / Dixie Strategies Poll released Wednesday, if the election were held today, 45 percent of respondents said they would vote for Trump. About 38 percent indicated they would vote for former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. About 10 percent of those asked said they are still undecided.
Pollster Brian Graham of Dixie Strategies joined CBS 11's Jack Fink on Facebook Live Wednesday afternoon to discuss the results.
While Trump is clearly still ahead in the race, Graham said, "He really should be doing a lot better. There's no reason why, at this late stage in the game that he should be under 50 percent in the state of Texas."
Not much has changed for Trump since early August in a previous KTVT - CBS 11 / Dixie Strategies poll while Clinton has actually gained 3 percentage points. In August, about 46 percent of respondents said they would vote for Trump if the election were held at that time and 35 percent said they would vote for Clinton.
When asked why he thinks Trump is under-performing, Graham said he thinks that Donald Trump probably did not help himself in the last debate. "The headlines are often times worse than what happens in the debate...but the headlines afterwards really do hurt a candidate and I think you saw that with Donald Trump."
"The more time that Donald Trump spends defending himself and what he says -- and his actions -- and not attacking Hillary Clinton...he is really distracting himself," Graham continued.
When it comes to favorability, neither candidate was able to crack the 50 percent barrier but Trump showed marked improvement. About 48 percent of respondents viewed Trump somewhat or very favorable and only 36 percent thought the same of Clinton. Back in August, only 37 percent of respondents viewed Trump favorably. That's a jump of 11 percent.
Senator Ted Cruz
Respondents were also asked about their opinion of Republican Senator Ted Cruz. In the poll -- taken after Cruz endorsed Trump in the presidential race -- 45 percent said they had a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of the senator. That's up from 35 percent in the August poll after his widely panned speech at the Republican National Convention where he refused to openly endorse Trump.
Speaking with Cruz on Wednesday, Jack Fink asked the senator specifically what he thought of these latest poll results and what he would say to Republicans who still haven't forgiven him for his decision not to endorse Trump at the convention. "Every day I've been in the Senate, I have taken very seriously my obligation to represent 27 million Texans, to keep my word, to fight for and earn their vote and earn their support," said Cruz. "I have worked to be accountable to the grassroots who elected me and to the men and women of Texas," he continued.
Graham said there are reasons for Cruz's popularity challenges. "When you're running for president, everything bad about you comes out," he said. "He has plenty of time to rebound and two years in politics is an eternity," he continued. Graham said that his convention appearance certainly did not help him.
Cruz's popularity in Texas has rebounded. When Republicans were asked for whom they would vote for if the primary election for US Senate were held today, 52 percent said they would cast their ballot for Cruz.
President Barack Obama
Respondents were asked about their opinion of President Obama as well. 41 percent described their opinions as favorable or somewhat favorable while 57 percent had a somewhat unfavorable to very unfavorable opinion of the President.
Governor Greg Abbott
On Governor Abbott when people were asked to describe their opinion, 62 percent said very favorable to somewhat favorable. 31 percent had a somewhat unfavorable to very unfavorable view of the Governor.
Trump fared a little better with respondents in the DFW area when asked for whom they would vote if the election were held today. About 49 percent said they would vote for Trump. Clinton was up a point in DFW when compared to the state-wide poll with 39 percent who said they would vote for her. Those results are not much different than the poll taken back in August.
There has been some movement with undecided voters. State-wide, 10 percent are still undecided, that's up slightly from the August result of 9 percent. In DFW, the number of those on the fence has dwindled from 8 percent in August to 6 percent in the current poll. Many analysts think that undecided voters nationally could swing the election either way.
Graham thinks that Trump will have more than 50 percent of the vote on election day in Texas. "You can't be undecided in the voting booth," said Graham. "If you look at the past performance in the state of Texas, all indicators will tell you that Donald Trump most likely is going to be the victor."
The KTVT-CBS 11/Dixie Strategies Poll was conducted on September 29 – October 1, 2016 and includes the viewpoints of 780 likely voters across Texas who were contacted and surveyed over the phone. The results include 321 Republicans, 254 Democrats and 205 others. It has a 3.51 percent margin of error.
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