November 03, 2006
We're winning! No, we're winning!

Who's ahead in the early vote tallies? Depends who you ask.

In the race to replace U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay in the 22nd Congressional District, for example, Democrat Nick Lampson's campaign manager says the early voting trend shows his get-out-the-vote efforts are beating those of write-in Republican candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

Sekula-Gibbs' campaign manager, Lisa Dimond, reads the leaves differently.

"We believe we have more than enough support," she said. "All we have to do is get the voters out and have them know how to write Shelley in."


To Gerald Birnberg, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party, an analysis of early voting in Texas House District 134 shows that Democratic challenger Ellen Cohen is in command.

"He's dead wrong," said Birnberg's GOP counterpart, Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill: Early voting clearly shows that incumbent Republican Martha Wong is beating Cohen.

Birnberg and Woodfill use similar processes to reach their differing interpretations.

Each day they get a list of those who signed in at early voting locations and check each record to see if the voter has a history of voting in Democratic or Republican primaries - the only way to document party affiliation in a state without registration by party.

Voters identified that way as Democrats are put in Cohen's column, Republicans in Wong's.

The art is in determining how strongly partisan a voter's history is. That, combined with each party's tendency to accentuate the positive, may explain the differing conclusions.

One side or the other in each of these cases is deluded or spinning. It's possible that someone is comparing returns to some easily-hurdled baseline goal, which would be a special case of spinning, and it's possible that both sides in a race share a set of people they've identified as persuadables who have already voted, which would be a special case of delusion for one of them. We'll know on Tuesday night.

Today of course is the last day of early voting, so unless you want to visit your precinct polling place, get out and do your duty today. And click here if you want to help with a GOTV effort at UT.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 03, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Damn it, Kuff, they can't both be right. Somebody is either lying or deeply confused.

I wish the H-Chron would, you know, get one party or the other to show their numbers. That's the smoke test. I think the reporter failed (or at least failed to note that he asked).

Posted by: Jim D on November 3, 2006 5:26 PM

On Election Day Lampson will be rolling the barrel out.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on November 3, 2006 7:27 PM

Roll out the barrel

Posted by: Charles Hixon on November 3, 2006 7:42 PM

Word I hear is, based on the Voter Cert Numbers, that Wong is in trouble in Early Voting. More D Primary voters identifieds than R's, but the biggest group to vote have no primary history.

The big surprise is Vo-Heflin. I hear that based on cert numbers, Heflin is kicking Vo's ass - like 2-1.

And Heflin may have enough of a lead that it doesn't matter what happens on E-Day.

So Harris County may be in for a seat swap.

No other seats reportedly are really that close again based on cert numbers.

Would love to know if anybody hears otherwise; I had a pretty reliable source and they were spouting some pretty specific stats.

Posted by: Aaron on November 4, 2006 8:54 AM

In re: Vo/Heflin, I'm not sure where you heard that, but what I've heard is that a significant number of early voters in that area have been folks with Vietnamese surnames. Maybe your data is more recent than mine, or maybe these are mostly folks without an identifiable primary voting history. We'll see.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 4, 2006 11:48 AM

I think the key phrase is "D primary voters."

There may be some communities that will show on election day but won't ever vote in the primary. I suspect that some of them may be in Vo's district.

Posted by: Jim D on November 4, 2006 1:35 PM