In a prior post, we looked at the early vote numbers in the 15 most populous counties. In the Republican primary, there were 692,866 people who voted in early in the Presidential election, which was 48 percent of the total 1.4 million people (11 percent of registered voters) who voted in the Presidential primary. In the Democratic primary, there were 303,203 people who voted in early in the Presidential election. which was 52 percent of the total 587,146 (4.5 percent of registered voters) who voted in the Presidential election.
How does this compare to prior years? In the 2010 Republican primary, 1.5 million people voted, which represented 11.4 percent of registered voters, and in the 2008 Republican primary, 1.4 million people voted, which represented 10.7 percent of registered voters (Source). Turnout for the 2010 Democratic primary was 680,548 (5.2 percent of registered voters) and 2.9 million (22.54 percent of registered voters) in the 2008 Democratic primary (same source). [Note: voting age population percentages are obviously lower than the registered voter percentages cited].
While turnout has been bemoaned as low and blamed on the lack of competition in the Presidential race, the statewide turnout for the Republican primary has actually been comparable to 2008 and 2010 when there were competitive races for President and Governor respectively. The Democratic primary similarly returned to a norm; the 2008 primary would be the exception due to the excitement over the contest and the belief that Texas would have an impact on the race.
You can see the results for all the races here; many will be decided two months from now, since we’re going to have some run-off elections.
Turnout for early voting has been surprisingly high given that the Presidential race is effectively over.
According to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, 343,497 Texans have voted early in the 15 most populous counties (Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, El Paso, Denton, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, Montgomery, Wlliamsom, Nueces, Galveston, and Cameron). Dallas Morning News reporter Christi Hoppe notes that the 239 counties usually produce as many early votes as these 15 most populous counties, which suggests that statewide early vote total could be something around 680,000.
By way of comparison, there were 306,402 early voters in the 15 most populous counties in 2010 (Republican primary), and 1.5 million total voters in the Republican primary election. There were 303,338 early voters in the 15 most populous counties in 2008 (Republican primary), and 1.4 million total voters in the primary election (Source for 2008 & 2010 vote totals).
It remains to be seen if the turnout on Election Day (tomorrow) will be very high since it is the day after a long holiday weekend. Even if turnout is not high, the final total turnout could be near 1 million. Conventional wisdom suggests this is good for the incumbents, who have been tagged with the “establishment” label, because the voters turning out may not be committed ideologues.
Over the weekend, I finished reading John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s book Game Change, and it’s been a tough slog, because I put it down multiple times with no intention of picking it back up. When the book was first released, I didn’t read it, on the basis of several reviews, and now, I believe I should have heeded those reviews because I was better off having never read this poor excuse of a 2008 campaign tell-all. The book is essentially about the Democratic primary with the Republican primary little more than an afterthought and the general election an anticlimax to the Democratic nomination fight. The general nature of the book is more in line with a gossip column or tabloid journalism than an actual narrative of the 2008 campaign (and forget anything resembling analysis), and seems designed more to showcase the authors ability to get information from sources.