February 26, 2008
Today's turnout examination

Another day, another outrageously strong early vote showing in Harris County. Another 15,000 Democratic votes were cast on Monday, bringing the seven-day early vote total to a hair under 80,000. That means that we have already surpassed the entire Democratic primary vote total for 2004 (73,477), and we still have four more days of early voting plus Primary Day itself to get. Let that sink in for a minute.

I know there's been a lot of talk about Republicans voting in the Democratic primary, whether sincerely or not. I've contributed quite a bit of that talk myself. But let's keep things in perspective here. The fact of the matter is that Democrats are turning out strongly, whatever else may be going on. Here's one piece of evidence for that: the turnout at early voting locations in the six African-American State Rep districts:

EV Loc Dem votes GOP votes Total votes Dem %
HD131 2902 73 2975 97.5
HD139 4143 111 4254 97.4
HD141 5854 1095 6949 84.2
HD142 4103 513 4616 88.9
HD146 7645 490 8135 94.0
HD147 3415 40 3455 98.8

Total 28,062 2322 30,384 92.4

That's what I call strong Democratic turnout. In these districts, Barbara Radnofsky got over 70% of the vote against Kay Bailey Hutchison in all but HD146, where she got 67.7%. These aren't Republicans playing at mischief. And these six districts, which have nine of the 34 EV locations in Harris County, have cast more Democratic votes than Republican votes in all of Harris County combined.

(On a side note, my favorite statistic in the entire lot: Julia C. Hester House, one of two early voting locations in HD142, has had exactly one Republican vote cast there. That happened on Saturday. I feel like there should have been horns blowing and confetti dropping when that voter announced himself. Maybe next time.)

Now, just because these votes were cast at those locations doesn't mean those voters actually lived in those districts. You can vote anywhere during early voting, after all. I can tell you that a cursory glance through the rosters suggests most of those voters were actually in their home locations at the time, but let's look at this another way. Here's the Dem performance in various State Rep districts:

EV Loc Dem votes GOP votes Total Dem % Moody % 06 Dem
HD126 2344 1100 3444 68.1 35.2 9114
HD127 3003 2131 5134 58.5 33.4 14305
HD129 2775 1653 4428 62.7 39.2 14397
HD133* 2249 824 3073 73.2 43.8 8750
HD134** 1845 498 2343 78.7 51.7 25128
HD135 2150 939 3089 69.6 40.2 N/A
HD137 1151 324 1475 78.0 55.8 5201
HD138* 1591 610 2201 72.3 45.1 8286
HD143 862 151 1013 85.1 69.4 6026
HD144** 706 398 1104 63.9 44.9 8017
HD149 3006 856 3862 77.8 48.7 12621

The ones marked with * are four-day totals; those with ** are three-day totals; the rest are five-day totals. "Moody %" refers to the share of the vote that Bill Moody got in 2006; "06 Dem" is how many votes the Democratic candidate for State Rep got in that district that year. Generally speaking, the better Bill Moody did, the greater the share of vote is in the Democratic primary. Note that the main exceptions are HDs 129 and 144, both of which are in CD22 and both of which have primaries for the GOP nomination for State Rep; and HD134, which also has a primary for the GOP State Rep nomination and where you'll probably find a higher percentage of people interested in the downballot races than in most other places. To me, there's nothing in these numbers to suggest any real funkiness going on in terms of crossover voting. Just a fully engaged and motivated Democratic populace.

I'll keep trying to make something of these numbers as I continue to get the daily rosters. It's getting to be a bigger chore due to the volume of the data, but I'll see what I can do. Other looks at turnout come from EoW, where you can see that while GOP participation is stagnant, Democratic early voting is increased eightfold; BOR, which is doing a day-by-day look at the top 15 counties - note also Ken Molberg's comment that of 57,000 early voters in Dallas, "less than 3,000 have previous R primary history" going back to 2002; Nick Beaudrot, who is projecting that Dems may cast nearly as many ballots in the 2008 primary as they did in then 2004 general election for President (!!!); and Paul Burka, who still hasn't quite wrapped his mind around all this - how many D-to-R voters do you think there are going to be this year? Not many, if you ask me.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 26, 2008 to Election 2008

BOR had someone who looked at the individual voter histories in Dallas County. Just under 5% had voted in an R primary before. About 50% didn't vote in a primary in the past eight years.

The first one is unimpressive ... about 10% of the WI voters were Republicans, and it's plausible that if you count R general election only voters you're at maybe 10 or 15%. But for 50% to have never voted in a primary is unreal; in Wisconsin 82% of the voters had voted in a primary before.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on February 26, 2008 11:26 PM