New poll shows Clinton within single digits of Trump in, er...

You’ll remember from the Book of Revelation that Texas going blue is what happens when the sixth seal is broken. Dude, I think I hear it cracking.

No, just kidding. Texas isn’t going blue. Or, to hedge a bit, if Texas goes blue then it won’t matter that Texas went blue. The wipeout nationally will be so immense that Texas could vote 100/0 for Trump and it wouldn’t matter a whit. This poll is interesting not because America’s most famously red state is going to flip but because it shows that Trump still has work to do to win over even reliable Republicans. And before you say, “Eh, it’s one poll,” bear in mind that a private poll of Texas released last week had numbers similar to these. That one had it 36.8/29.7 for Trump, a lead of 7.1 points. Today’s UT poll has it an eight-point lead at 41/33. There really is reason to believe that Trump is nowhere near securing a majority in Texas — yet.

A University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by a margin of 41 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head trial ballot match-up in Texas, with 19 percent preferring someone else, and 8 percent saying that they don’t yet know who they would vote for.

The margin between the two major candidates changed only slightly when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnston was included. In that three-way match-up, the results showed Trump at 39 percent, Clinton at 32 percent and Johnson at 7 percent…

Among those who said that they would vote for Donald Trump, 45 percent said they wanted Donald Trump to be President, but more – 55 percent – said they didn’t want Hillary Clinton elected president. Among Clinton voters, 57 percent said that they were voting for Clinton, while the remaining 43 percent said that they didn’t want Trump to become president.

Those last numbers are more interesting to me than the topline numbers as a gauge of Texans’ reluctance to embrace Trump. A majority of her voters say they’re voting for her as opposed to against him; with Trump, it’s the opposite. That 19 percent who are undecided in a two-way race is eye-popping too, and helps explain why he’s under 40 percent — in Texas! — when Johnson is added to the mix.

That said, paint me a picture where Democrats decide it’s worth devoting money and manpower to trying to win in cowboy country, of all places. Hillary has said before that she thinks she can win Texas but that’s routine pep-talk bluster from a candidate aimed at keeping morale up among her supporters. (I’d say the same of Trump claiming he can win New York and California except that, er, he seems to actually believe it.) Granted, there’s a large Latino minority there that would tighten the race if Clinton could get them to turn out, but that’s also true of more winnable/less expensive states like Arizona and Colorado. If you’ve got, say, $10 million you’re looking to spend, why not spend it there instead of Texas? Texas is in play this fall only if there’s a blue wave that looks set to hand Hillary a landslide, and even in that case, it makes no sense for her to spend big bucks on a state she doesn’t need it to win. The only scenario I can think of where it might be worth Democrats’ while to spend in Texas is if the race remains within 10 points or so for a few months and Hillary wants to spook the less well-funded RNC into playing defense there. If it’s Trump 47, Clinton 41 in Texas in September and Hillary has an insane $500 million advantage on Trump in fundraising, is it worth spending $30 million there and forcing Team Reince to spend scarce funds of their own to protect Trump’s lead? Maybe. But even then, that $30 million could go a long way in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

The best argument to think Texas will end up red, though, is that Trump is competitive in battleground states. Per CBS, he’s down three points in Florida, two points in North Carolina, and one point in Colorado. In RCP’s poll average, he’s down less than three in Ohio and just one-half of one point in Pennsylvania, which has eluded the GOP for decades. The national polls lately that have been so sour for Trump are interesting as big-picture snapshots of the national mood but in the end it’s only the battleground state polls that matter, and he’s hanging in there for the moment. Ed argued earlier that the fact that Trump trails in each of the states CBS polled is a bad sign for him but I look at it the way Sarah Isgur Flores does: If Trump is this competitive despite having spent most of the past month peeing on himself rhetorically, how much more competitive might he be if he straightens out a little?

The pundits have been reporting that Trump’s month in the wilderness cost him support in the latest round of polling because that’s what Beltway conventional wisdom dictates. But any decent Clinton strategist knows the numbers are telling a different, and much scarier, story for her.

She’s tied in North Carolina, up 3 in Pennsylvania, and up 2 in Ohio. In one poll this week, 49 percent of voters said it was very important to them to make sure Trump is not elected President. But in that same poll, only 42 percent were willing to vote for Clinton, meaning even people who are dead-set against Trump can’t bring themselves to vote for her. It’s not hard to guess why. Of the 56 percent who have an unfavorable view of her, 86 percent said it was either because she is not trustworthy or corrupt. Ouch.

Robby Mook is learning that even $300 million dollars and 700 staffers might not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Right. And the better Trump’s chances look this fall, the more likely it is that Texas Republicans who are iffy on him will hold their noses and deliver for him in order to try to hand the GOP the White House. Texas falls only if they stay home, and they’re only staying home if he has no chance on Election Day. Either way, don’t worry about Texas.