Still on track for a record-breaking primary

If you’re voting tomorrow, my advice is to get there early in hope of avoiding long lines.

The campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama urged supporters to stop in at shopping centers, libraries or county courthouses to cast their ballots early and beat the anticipated primary day rush. Republican presidential contenders John McCain and Mike Huckabee also campaigned in Texas, though voter interest centered on the closer Democratic race.

On the other hand, if everyone is being urged to get there early, maybe it’s better strategy to go during the middle of the day. I’d avoid lunchtime, so maybe between 9 and 10, or between 2 and 4. Your guess is as good as mine.

An estimated 60 percent, or 2 million, of the 3.3 million total voters expected in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries voted early, [Secretary of State Phil] Wilson said. He based that estimate on the slightly more than 1.2 million who cast ballots in the 15 most populous counties through Friday’s end of early voting.


The Secretary of State’s Office tally for the 15 most populous counties showed that 890,188, or 11.39 percent of registered voters in those counties, voted early in the Democratic primary — more than the Texas Democratic Party has seen in the past two presidential primaries statewide for early and Election Day voting.

Harris, Dallas and Bexar counties had the largest numbers of early Democratic voters, with 403,197 ballots cast in person and by mail in those three counties covering Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

This projection is the same as the one the SOS made last Wednesday, so the end of early voting stayed in line with that. It still boggles my mind to see these numbers, especially the 890,000-out-of-1.2-million-voted-Democratic numbers. Bear in mind that if the SOS is overestimating how many people voted early – say, if it’s 50% instead of 60% – these numbers really start to go through the roof. You know, whenever you go to vote, budget plenty of time for it.

I should note further that we finally have some head-to-head polling for Texas. And guess what? It looks like a pretty not-bad starting point (PDF) from the Democratic perspective. John McCain leads Barack Obama 51-42 and HIllary Clinton 50-46. It’s taken, if I’m reading this correctly, from the pool of primary voters they’re sampling, with some adjustments made to project for the general election. That sample (pre-weighting) had a partisan identification is 38D-28R-29I, which in itself is interesting. I’m sure there’s another poll from Florida or some such place showing everything is peachy-dandy for the Republicans there, but I’ll take this as a place to begin.

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