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The Brief: Trump leads Clinton by 3 percentage points in Texas

Trump's polling in the Lone Star state continues to shrink just two weeks before the November election.

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are facing off in the 2016 presidential election.

The Big Story

Several recent polls have shown Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holding only a single-digit lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in typically red Texas. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll has the most recent data on where each candidate stands in the Lone Star state. 

•    According to the UT/TT poll, conducted Oct. 14 to Oct. 23 (the eve of early voting in Texas), Trump holds only a three-percentage-point lead over Clinton — 45 to 42. A prior WFAA/SurveyUSA poll had Trump leading by only 4 points.

•    The GOP nominee's low numbers may be attributed to the fact that many Republicans say they aren't thrilled about their party's nominee. According to the UT/TT poll, 53 percent of Trump voters said their choice could be more accurately be described as against Clinton than for Trump. “The lack of enthusiasm amongst Republicans is remarkable,” said Joshua Blank, who supervised the poll.

•   Of those surveyed, Trump’s voters chose “nominating justices to the U.S. Supreme Court” (35 percent) as the issue most important to them, followed by immigration (17 percent) and the economy (14 percent). Clinton’s voters listed the economy first (19 percent), followed by Supreme Court nominations (18 percent) and health care (11 percent).

 •   Trump's poll numbers started going downhill after a 2005 tape surfaced of the businessman making lewd comments about women. Following the video's release, various Texas GOP officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn denounced Trump's words but continued to support his campaign.

•    Early voting continues in Texas until Nov. 4 amidst claims from Trump and state GOP leaders that the election may be rigged. The Texas Tribune wants to know what the election means to you and your experience at the polls. Join the conversation through ElectionLand and by using the hashtag .

Tribune Today

Who's funding the ad war over Texas' only competitive U.S. House seat?
National groups are saturating the airwaves in the only competitive U.S. House race in Texas. 

"Beat on me," foster care chief tells lawmakers. And they do.
Hank Whitman, appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to fix the state's dangerous and dysfunctional foster care system, says he needs more money to get the job done. Some lawmakers aren't convinced.

Familiar names spar in Galveston-area state House race
Rep. Wayne Faircloth, a Republican who's held the House District 23 seat for just one term, is hoping to thwart a comeback bid by former Rep. Lloyd Criss.

Texplainer: Can I take a ballot selfie in Texas?
Am I breaking Texas law if I take a ballot selfie while casting my vote?

Castro brothers to stump in Texas as presidential race tightens
The Castro brothers will campaign across Texas as polls show a much closer-than-usual presidential race here.

Second day turnout of early voting in Texas' largest counties higher than first
The first day of early voting broke local turnout records across Texas. In many parts of the state, turnout on the second day was even better. 

What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Cruz says there’s precedent for keeping ninth Supreme Court seat empty, The Washington Post 

Abortion rights advocates submit petition against Texas' proposed rules on fetal remains, The Dallas Morning News

State, local officials address claims of voting irregularities, Austin American-Statesman 

Straus to TEA: fix or suspend limit on special ed enrollments, Houston Chronicle 

State’s future hinges on Latinos’ educational success, commissioner saysAustin American-Statesman 

Today in TribTalk

"Overinflated promises being made for expansion of Texas' Medicaid program remind us of two time-proven adages: 'If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,' and 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.'"

Deane Waldman, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   "Along Came Kinky" Screening and Conversation on Oct. 27 at the LBJ Library

•   A Symposium on Transportation on Nov. 3 at Texas A&M University - Rudder Tower 

•   A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 4 at The Austin Club 

•   Live Post-Election TribCast on Nov. 9 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

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