"I wouldn't hold my breath for Latino turnout of eligible voters to match that of whites," said Texeira, "but the potential is there to close that gap significantly."
A Dallas Morning News poll in August had Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders each beating Trump in Texas by 2 percentage points, inside the poll's 3-point margin of error.
A Democratic win in Texas would fundamentally redraw the electoral map. With 28 electoral votes, it's worth as much as Pennsylvania and Ohio combined.
And Texas's importance as a battleground state will only increase in 2024. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan are each expected to lose an electoral vote after the political map is redrawn after the 2020 census; Texas is likely to gain three.
"I view it as more permanently purple than eventually blue. I see Texas in the future more like we see Florida and maybe Georgia," Rottinghaus said. "But I think the short answer is that yes, Texas is going to be competitive."
(With assistance from Emma Kinery and Jacqueline Gu. Korte reported from Washington and Carroll from Houston.)
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