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The Texas Observer polls the new primary voters

Leland Beatty takes a look at all those new folks who voted in the Democratic primary.

[W]e surveyed 2,500 voters, half of whom had never participated in a primary until 2008 and the other half voters who participated in previous Republican primaries but this year voted in the Democratic primary. We asked them whom they support now, and whether their feelings have changed since the March primary. We also sought their feelings about the presidential campaign and about issues of concern to Texas.

Looking at the charts, 72.4% of first-time primary voters say they support either Obama (37.6%) or Clinton (31.8%), compared to 13.7% for McCain and 13.9% undecided. Nearly half of Republican crossover voters (25.1% Obama, 21.7% Clinton) support one of the Democrats, while 33.1% are with McCain and 20.1% undecided. Beatty summed up these findings as follows:

Beatty said that his survey — which singled out 1,500 first-time primary voters and 1,500 voters who had previously voted in a Republican primary — suggests a strong realignment is underway in Texas as more voters become “persuadable” to Democratic candidates, provided the aspirants have a positive message and enough campaign money to get it across.

Beatty, who has a background in farm issues, summed up this way: “It’s going to take some irrigation on that wheat to get a crop out of it.”

For reasons not quite clear to me because he doesn’t elaborate, Burka thinks this poll is “bad news for Democrats”. I suppose if you assume they won’t have the money to “irrigate the wheat”, you could read it as demonstrating the big primary turnout as being more illusory than tangible. I’m not sure why the resources won’t be there – at least, enough to make an impact – and I’m not sure why Texas’ experience with new voters in the Democratic primary will be any different from all the other states that experienced the same huge surge in turnout; perhaps Burka will go into more detail in a subsequent post. For now at least, I lean towards Matt Glazer’s assessment that while this may not be a realignment, it is a de-alignment. If nothing else, it’s a way better position to be in than it used to be.

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One Comment

  1. tc says:

    After Burka’s post a couple months ago stating that Obama was doomed beyond repair and that his candidacy was effectively over because of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, I’ve learned to not really sweat any of his prophecies. Interestingly, that post seems to have been deleted or I would have posted a link.

    I only began reading Burka this year. I have a feeling that had I started reading him earlier I would have come to this conclusion sooner. Granted, he obviously knows a lot about politics (certainly more than I), but he seems utterly clueless sometimes.