The Texas Tribune noticed something Wednesday about Donald Trump's support in the Texas GOP primary.
— Jolie McCullough (@jsmccullou) March 2, 2016
Trump lost the state to Texas' own Sen. Ted Cruz when voters went to the polls on Tuesday. But, it's true: The counties were Trump did win were clustered in the Southwestern part of the state, near the Mexican border. Which would suggest that something about Trump's message -- say, his support for a border wall -- resonated there.
But such things can be deceiving. Exit polls showed that Trump's best area was actually around Dallas/Fort Worth, which is more central in the state. There's not a lot of gray conveyed in that Tribune graphic, so we decided to make our own.
Here's what Cruz's support looked like in the state, with darker-colored counties showing more support for the home-state senator. Notice that the area to the southwest is fairly light.
(Areas in gray had no data as of writing.)
And here's Trump's. The panhandle -- the part that sticks up to the north -- was Trump's weakest area. He does a bit better in the west and south, with the exception of the far west, where El Paso is located.
A better way of looking at it is the margin between the two. Cruz beat Trump in most counties, but the extent of that victory varied.
But it's clearly the case that Trump did broadly better in that southwestern stretch than he did in other parts of the state.
There's no correlation between the density of the Hispanic population in an area and Trump's support, by the way. Most of the Hispanic population, including the subset of that group that's of Mexican heritage, is centered in the cities, not the border. Looking at all of the counties on the whole, Trump did about as well regardless of the Hispanic population.
This is still pretty sketchy, and it's not clear that it was Trump's specific position on immigration that caused him to do better in the southwest. But if we were looking for a place where his pro-wall message might be unusually resonant, that's it.
Stay tuned for Arizona and New Mexico.