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Agenda Texas: A Boost for Texas Democrats

On the latest Agenda Texas, from KUT News and the Tribune: President Obama's trip to Austin was all about jobs, but it also inevitably highlighted Democratic efforts to turn Texas into a battleground state.

President Barack Obama greets Manor New Tech students after his remarks at the technology high school on May 9, 2013.

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

The party is focusing intently on courting Latino voters and — guess what — so is the Texas GOP.

To help explain the importance of this demographic, I talked with Jim Henson, a Texas Tribune pollster who directs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. Henson said that, indeed, the future is all about Hispanic voters.

"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."

Do you think Texas will ever be a battleground state? Send us an email at or a note on Twitter: @AgendaTexas.

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