The Slatest

Trump Campaign Admits “We Are Behind” as Poll Suggests Clinton Could Win Texas

Donald Trump pauses as the crowd cheers for him during a campaign stop at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Friday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway demonstrated Sunday that as a longtime Republican pollster, she has no trouble reading the polls. “We are behind,” Conway admitted on NBC’s Meet the Press. Conway immediately went on trying to justify why that could be, characterizing Trump losing as the product of Hillary Clinton’s power as an insider. “She has some advantages, like $66 million in ad buys just in the month of September. … She has a former president, happens to be her husband, campaigning for her. The current president and first lady, vice president, all much more popular than she can hope to be. And she’s seen as the incumbent.”

Yet that doesn’t mean Conway thinks all is lost for Trump. Quite the contrary. Conway suggested the polls aren’t capturing the enthusiasm she is seeing on the ground. On CNN, Conway criticized the media for publishing stories about how the race is over. “That is so unfair to the voters who have yet to go to the ballot box and exercise their constitutional rights to tell us who should be president of the United States and commander in chief,” she said. “Let me tell you, you go out on the road with Donald Trump and this election doesn’t feel over.”

Conway spoke on the same day as a set of new polls handed even more bad news for the Trump campaign. A new ABC News poll shows Clinton is ahead by 12 percentage points among likely voters—50 to 38 percent. It marks a huge increase in Clinton’s lead, up from 4 points in the Oct. 13 poll and is the highest support for Clinton and lowest support for Trump in any prior ABC polls.

Perhaps more interesting though is a CBS News poll of battleground states that suggests Clinton is a stone’s throw away from being able to win Texas. Trump only has a 3-point lead in the traditionally red state, which is well within the poll’s margin of error. Clinton has an identical lead in Florida, according to the poll. This is hardly the first poll that shows Clinton could have a shot in Texas. Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported Trump was only 2 points ahead in Texas.

Despite the poll numbers, experts have said that a Clinton win in Texas isn’t very likely. “There is good reason to believe that polling is finding Texas leaning Republican rather than the solid Republican state it has been in presidential elections for most of the last three decades,” wrote Jim Henson and Joshua Blank of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas–Austin. “But the change in its tilt doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready to fall the other direction without still more shaking at the foundations.”

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.