Four years ago, President Obama carried Harris County by a slim margin — 50-to-49 percent. He lost by much wider margins in every surrounding county.
Mark Jones chairs the political science department at Rice University. He says the president likely won't win Harris County this November, because of his disapproval ratings.
"Both in terms of issues of health care, general management of the economy, general management of government. And then you can get to the more specific topics, such as energy policy where there's a view among a large number of people in Harris County that the president's energy policies are not good for Houston in particular, and Texas in general."
The president's visit today begins with a meet-and-greet at Minute Maid Park's Union Station. He'll then attend a private dinner at the River Oaks home of Harvard classmate and Greater Houston Partnership chair Tony Chase. Tickets to that sold-out dinner went for more than $38,000 each. Jones says the total between the two events could land somewhere between $2.5 and $3 million.
"Most of the funding that he's raising during the visit here is not going directly to his campaign. It's going indirectly to the Democratic National Committee. They, in turn, will spend the money in support of his campaign, but also in support of other Democrats throughout the country."
Jones says Texas is the second largest contributor to President Obama. The state is also the sixth largest overall contributor to candidates in the Democratic Party.