Agenda Texas: What's the Battle in Texas?

May 9, 2013

President Barack Obama's trip to a high school and technology company in Austin today was, on the surface, all about creating jobs. But his visit was also an morale boost for Texas Democrats still looking for any statewide win to turn its fortunes around in the state.

The party is focusing much of its efforts on courting Latino voters. And guess what, so is the Texas GOP.

To help explain the importance of this demographic I talked with UT-Austin pollster Jim Henson, who said after a careful analysis of all the data, yep, the future is all about Latino voters.

"Well the reason that the Latino vote is such a matter of contention right now is that there are two trends working against each other. On one hand you see the trend that is emphasized in particular by the Democratic side that shows low level of Latino turnout even as the population grows. And so the idea there is all you really have to do it register more Latinos, and then get them to turn out. They're going to vote predominately Democratic, given what you think you know. But within that is the other countervailing dynamic, which is that despite the growing number of Latinos, the turnout rate remains relatively flat."

Jim Henson is a pollster at UT-Austin and director of the Texas Politics Project.

Ok, be honest. Do you think Texas will ever be a Battleground state? Send us an e-mail or a note on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.