Demographic changes and a suburban backlash did not stop President Trump from taking the Lone Star State, though he did so with a smaller margin than in 2016. Even as urban and suburban areas moved in large numbers toward Democrats, many Hispanic voters in the south abruptly exited the Democratic coalition.
Shift since 2016
In counties that have reported almost all of their votes
The Rio Grande Valley shifted decisively toward Mr. Trump, as heavily Hispanic areas along the border with Mexico, including Hidalgo, home to McAllen, delivered enough votes to help cancel the impact of white voters in urban and suburban areas.
Starr, a rural border county hit with high coronavirus rates this summer, had the biggest shift. Hillary Clinton won the county by 60 percentage points in 2016; Joseph R. Biden Jr. won it by a mere five. Other border counties, including Maverick, Hidalgo and Cameron, also swung heavily right, compared with 2016.
There was an indication of a Hispanic movement leaning Republican when former Representative Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, lost ground in some Hispanic counties in his 2018 race against Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican. In Hidalgo County, for instance, Mrs. Clinton won by 41 percentage points in 2016, Mr. O’Rourke won by 38 in 2018, and Mr. Biden by just 17 points.
The state’s I-35 corridor, from the northern suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to San Antonio was awash in newfound Democrats, mostly white and educated. The Houston suburbs also moved in Mr. Biden’s direction.
Shift in county margins from 2016
Share of population
that is white
Share of population 25+
with a college degree
More college educated
Fewer college educated
Share of population
that is Hispanic
Texas has become politically competitive partly because of its growing diversity and because its white suburbs have grown more moderate. Counties outside the inner suburbs — largely white and wealthier areas often referred to as exurbs — have also seen some movement to the left.
Democrats have benefited from the state’s rising populations of college graduates, younger voters and minorities.
Despite these shifts, Mr. Trump led in most counties outside of big cities.