October 9, 2016

Presidential candidates aren’t favorable among voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)/AP

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Tarrant County voter registration is up from the 2012 presidential election, but both major party candidates have low favorability nationwide.

For the 2012 election cycle, Tarrant County had 975,385 registered voters. Currently, 1,066,419 Tarrant County voters are registered for the 2016 presidential election, according to Patricia Benavides, Tarrant County voter registration manager.

But national polls indicate most registered voters are dissatisfied with their voting options in the presidential race.

Less than 50 percent of registered voters nationwide are satisfied with their party’s candidate, according to the Pew Research Center, That means more than half of registered voters do not like the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Both candidates are also less of an ideological fit for their party’s grassroots supporters than some of their partisans would like, though this is more of a challenge for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton,” said Grant Ferguson, TCU instructor in political science.

Ferguson said voters believe Clinton is not liberal enough and Trump is not conservative. He said both Clinton and Trump are less popular within their respective parties than a typical nominee for president.

Tarrant County typically votes Republican, which mirrors the voting record of Texas as a whole.

In the 2012 general election, 57 percent of Texas voters chose Mitt Romney, the Republican Party nominee, and 41 percent chose Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nominee.

In the March 2016 primary election, Clinton received 65 percent of Tarrant County Democrats’ votes while Trump received 26 percent of Tarrant County Republicans’ votes. Texan Ted Cruz captured 44 percent of the Tarrant County vote.

“Tarrant County voters have a huge stake in this election,” said Marco Rosas, Tarrant County Democratic Party chief strategist. “If people are upset about the budget cuts to education for children with disabilities, then they have a stake.  If they are happy with jobs being taken out of Texas, the voters have a stake.  If they are upset about budget cut after budget cut for all Texas schools, the voters have a stake.”

The Tarrant County Republican Party did not return calls for comment.

Ferguson said he would not be surprised if 1 or 2 percent fewer voters vote than in 2012 due to their dissatisfaction with the candidates. But fewer votes for president could affect down-ballot races.

State and local offices also are on the November ballot.

“Our vote is our voice,” Rosas said. “Tarrant County has a great slate of candidates this election cycle.”

Either party has an opportunity to win the lower-level offices, depending on how many voters actually turn out to cast their votes in the presidential race.

“If fewer Republicans in Texas turn out to vote than usual, because they dislike Trump, while the same percentage of Democrats turns out to vote as usual, Republicans in close elections for lower-level offices will be less likely to win,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson predicts Hillary Clinton to become America’s first female president based on the FiveThirtyEight forecast, which shows Clinton winning 58.1 percent of the nation’s votes and Trump winning 41.9 percent. However, polls have been fluctuating during the last few weeks.

Based on FiveThirtyEight’s collected data, the prediction shows Trump has an overwhelming 89.2 percent chance of winning  Texas’ 38 electoral votes.

The FiveThirtyEight forecast, as of early October, shows Trump winning the swing states of North Carolina and Ohio, with Clinton winning Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin and Virginia.

In order to win the presidency, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes.

“Assuming no new scandals occur, and decent debate performances by Hillary Clinton, I’d expect her to win a close election by a couple [of] points,” Ferguson said. “However, based on more recent national and state polling showing a much closer race, I think it is possible that Donald Trump wins, though Hillary Clinton is still the favorite.”

This strong dissatisfaction with the major-party nominees has made room for third-party candidates to receive more attention than in previous years. FiveThirtyEight predicts Libertarian Gary Johnson to receive more than 7 percent of the popular vote. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is also receiving attention.

According to Texas state law, voters must meet requirements before being able to vote:

  • must be United States citizens
  • must be registered to vote
  • must be 18 years of age
  • must live at a Texas address
  • must not be serving a sentence
  • must not be determined by a court to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mental incapacitated without the right to vote
  • have one form of identification

Texans who vote by mail do not need to show identification.

Tarrant County has 694 locations for eligible voters to vote on Nov. 8 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Voting locations in the 109 include:

  • St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, 2700 McPherson Avenue
  • McLean 6th Grade School, 3201 South Hills Avenue
  • Trinity Chapel, 6610 Southwest Boulevard, Benbrook
  • Arborlawn United Methodist Church Annex Building, 4917 Briarhaven Road
  • Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen St.
  • Southcliff Baptist Church, 4100 Southwest Loop 820
  • Tanglewood Elementary School, 3060 Overton Park Drive West
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