February 29, 2008
Turnout watch: Republicans say "Hey! Remember us?!?"

Poor dears.

The party of the elephant is hoping its members don't forget about it.

Record-breaking turnout in the Democratic primary across the state is causing concerns that a significant number of Republicans may not vote in their own party's primary.

With the much tighter presidential race on the Democratic side, some Republicans are choosing to temporarily jump ship so they can have a say in a race that is generating more excitement.

At local events, members are lecturing fellow Republicans on the importance of voting in their own primary.

Among the reasons being given are a need to support local GOP candidates and a concern that the results of some local primary races may not accurately reflect the Republican electorate if not enough party members cast ballots.

On Tuesday, the Texas Republican Party e-mailed a "Republican Voter Alert" to supporters statewide encouraging them to vote in their own party's primary.

"Voting in the Republican Primary is important to keeping Texas the conservative beacon of the nation," the e-mail said. "Your vote ensures your status as a Republican for the entire election cycle."

The e-mail noted that only Republicans who vote in their own primary can take part in GOP precinct conventions on March 4 or in the national convention later this year.

Funny, there's not so much talk about affecting the Democratic result any more, is there? Can't imagine why.

Meanwhile, Vince compares some Dem primary turnout numbers in GOP strongholds to 2004 general election results to demonstrate that there are indeed enough Dems in these places to support the levels of turnout we're seeing. That was one reason why I included the State Rep vote totals from 2006 in this post. Take a look at Vince's work and see what you think.

Harvey Kronberg weighs in on the turnout numbers.

Party activists say the primary numbers are misleading and Republican voters will come home next November.

What I do know is this:

Nationally, people who self-identify as Democrats now exceed self-identifying Republicans by 20 percent, the biggest lead for either party since pollsters started asking the question. While I don't know what the comparable Texas spread is, I would suggest that Governor Perry's 39 percent win in the last election is probably the size of the unshakeable GOP base vote.

Maybe it's little more than an aberration driven by an exciting race, but if Democrats do start competing successfully in hard core Republican suburban counties, Texas may actually become a two party state more quickly than most of us expected.

I'll say again, I think you can take everything we thought we knew about the electorate here and throw out it. We'll all be sorting through the data for weeks after Tuesday to try and figure out where things stand now, and we'll need to start from the ground up.

Yesterday's numbers, courtesy of the County Clerk: 21,558 Democrats and 6,616 Republicans voted on Thursday, for totals of 135,733 Democrats and 41,290 Republicans overall. The last day of early voting is usually the busiest, too. I bet we'll see 30,000 Democratic votes cast today. What do you think?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 29, 2008 to Election 2008
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