February 20, 2008
Early voting totals way high already

So, who's voted yet? How long did you have to wait? Going by this account in the Chron, I'd say the lines were substantial.

By the end of the day, 9,233 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary; 2,914 in the Republican, said Harris County Clerk's spokesman Hector de Leon. First-day totals for early voting in the 2004 presidential primary totaled 849 in the Democratic contests and 678 in the Republican.

Note that in 2004, the entire cumulative total of the Democratic early vote in Harris County was 18,234; add in absentee ballots and it's 21,907. We may surpass that total tomorrow, on Day Two. That's outrageous.

A little back-of-the-envelope math: At this rate, about 100,000 people will vote early in the Democratic primary in Harris County. That's almost surely an underestimate, as early vote totals tend to rise towards the end of the period, but let's be conservative. Going by 2004 and 2006 results, the early vote is about 30% of the final tally. Let's be conservative again and say it'll be 40% this time, as there's been a pretty steady message of "Vote Early!" from party officials and us bloggers and whatnot. That pegs Harris County's early vote total at 250,000. From a turnout projection done a few months ago for Rick Noriega that I saw recently, Harris County will likely be about 17% of the statewide Democratic total for the primary. That puts the statewide total at about 1.5 million.

To put that into perspective, the 2004 Democratic Presidential primary turnout was 839,000. In 2000, it was 787,000. In 1996, 921,000. You have to go back to 1992 for an equivalent turnout, which was 1.48 million.

Finally, note that state Democratic officials were throwing around the number 1.8 million earlier this week. That total was last achieved in 1988, which coincidentally was the last time the Texas primary mattered. I thought that number was too high when I first heard it, but now not so much. And it could still be higher. Wow.

Oh, and it's not just Harris:

Turnout was also brisk in the suburbs, including Fort Bend County, where 1,697 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary and 944 in the Republican.

It's a beautiful thing to see those Democratic numbers next to the Republican ones, isn't it? I don't know how predictive this will be of November totals, but I don't care at this point. I'm enjoying the moment. I just hope that this doesn't mess things up in FBC. Great timing, wouldn't you say? Thanks to Juanita for the link.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 20, 2008 to Election 2008

1.8 million sounds low to me.

I've been looking at "votes per CD" in various primaries.

South Carolina: 90,000+
Georgia: 80,000
Alabama: 75,000
Califonia: 75,000
Massachusetts: 120,000
New York: 60,000 (??)
Arizona: 400,000 (McCain's on the ballot).
Wisconsin: 140,000
Maryland: 90,000
Virginia: 90,000

Bush's margin in Alabama was about what it is in Texas. So, I think 75,000 is plausible, meaning you'd get about 2.3 million voters.

By the way, I'm fairly certain the Obama campaign can contact in person every voter they need in Texas. You'd need about 2000 volunteers per day to hit 50 doors. For Super Tuesday, the Obama camp had 15,000 "super volunteers", so if you can get a third of them to fly to Texas and put them up (total cost: $3 million?), you can do it.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on February 20, 2008 9:33 AM
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