(CN) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is nipping at President Donald Trump’s heels in three Republican-led states Trump won in 2016, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Thursday.
The poll, which asked likely voters who they would vote for if the election were held today, found Trump and Biden tied in Georgia. In Iowa, Biden led Trump 45% to 42%, while Trump held onto a lead of 46% to 43% among Texans.
“Trump carried Georgia by five points and Texas and Iowa by nine points over Hillary Clinton in 2016,” Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll results. “It’s clear that all of three of these states are in play in 2020.”
The results suggest a “yawning gender gap,” as the Times described it, that is working against the president in all three states. A comfortable majority of women in each state say they’d vote for Biden.
“We’ve seen the gender gap for like, four decades, and that’s just consistent that women tend to prefer Democratic candidates,” said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a political scientist at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs.
DeFrancesco Soto said that trend has been helped along in this election by the Trump administration’s staunchly conservative policies and more recently by the prospect of the president filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett has questioned whether the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion in the U.S. is settled law.
“I’m not surprised in the least,” DeFrancesco Soto said of the poll’s findings on how female voters are leaning.
In Georgia, the poll found a “wide” racial divide, with white voters supporting Trump 68% to 27% and Black residents favoring Biden 83% to 4%. In Texas, 64% of white voters said they would choose Trump, while 71% of Black voters said they would go for Biden.
Levy said Biden’s “crushing” lead among Black Texas voters and his “substantial” lead among Latino voters are helping put the state in play for Democrats.
“This year, Trump is going to have to fight to prevent becoming the first Republican since Gerald Ford to not carry the Lone Star State,” he said.
Still, Francesco Soto cautioned that the Biden campaign cannot take Latino voters for granted.
“You can’t assume that all Latinos are going to vote for Biden,” she said. “Even though in the plurality, Latinos tend to vote for the Democratic candidate, Texas — outside of Florida — has the highest percentage of Hispanic Republicans.”
The poll also found that a majority of likely voters in all three states view racism within the criminal justice system as a bigger problem than “riots” in American cities, though there was a stark partisan divide on the question. Democrats strongly embrace the former view and Republicans embrace the latter.
The poll surveyed almost 1,700 voters in Georgia, Iowa and Texas from September 16-21, with a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points in the first two states and a 4.3 percentage point margin of error in Texas.