Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

One more analysis of early vote turnout

From Greg:


Sometimes the motivation to drive out one segment of voters to the polls has a disparate impact in an electorate. And sometimes the motivation in one constituency has an echo effect that motivates competing constituencies. A classic example of the latter was seen in the North Carolina Senate campaigns involving Jesse Helms (in 1984 and moreso in 1990). In both cases, there was a belief that African-American voters could be motivated to vote in numbers greater than usual. In other words – their share of vote could be increased. Unfortunately, the efforts to increase interest among African-American voters also drove up turnout by North Carolina white conservatives. That Sen. Helms relied on television advertisements that were accused of being racist isn’t without some parallel to the anti-HERO ads we see and here today in Houston.

Local elections, however, are a different story. About the best example I can think of locally was the 2007 HISD bond election, with many leading African-American elected officials opposed to the bond issue due to the plans it contained for closing a number of community schools in African-American neighborhoods. The bond passed, but with African-American voters rejecting it in their polling places. This election definitely feels reminiscent of that. So it’s not that “such-and-such neighborhood/constituency/whatrever didn’t turn out” for this election. It’s more the case that another such-and-such whatever DID get an additional motivation to turn out.

We’ll see some of the usual postmortems about who didn’t vote, how baffling it is that so few people end up voting, and other horror stories that accompany elections every year. I still don’t buy such stories, though. We’ll end up seeing a healthy increase in turnout by the time Election Day is done with. In and of itself, that’s better than the alternative. Whether a particular outcome meets my preference or not is a different story. But I doubt we’ll see any postmortems that accept blame for not talking to enough friends and neighbors.

Until then, read into the above numbers what you will. For all of the increases in turnout among GOP-friendly areas, the voting behavior is still Dem-leaning throughout the city. Nothing terribly bad can happen as long as that’s the case.

Click over to see his numbers and the rest of his analysis. As I’m sure is clear by now, there are a lot of people who feel pessimistic about HERO, for a variety of reasons. I’m not in that camp, though I am certainly more concerned than I used to be. Sometimes when one stands out from the crowd of public opinion, one is a visionary who sees things others don’t, and sometimes one is just flat wrong. I may very well be wrong – it won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last, that’s for sure – I just feel like we’re in sufficiently uncharted waters than I’m not comfortable speaking about what will happen with any certainty. The numbers are what they are, and it’s easy to see why they don’t look promising. Beyond that, I’m going to wait and see what they actually do say. I’m prepared to be wrong, and hoping not to be.

Related Posts:


  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    Take heart Kuffner we were behind in the poll’s prior to the red light camera election. The conventional wisdom was we lose. The Union had one heck of a party planned. They even had a stage for all of the elected officials to stand on to give speech’s and all of that b.s. They havn’t counted the votes yet.

  2. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul the polls conducted locally are all b.s. they give the results they think will motivate people to vote for something or to discourage. Stein, Parker in a landslide in 2011, how did that work out?

    Right now there should be some incumbents very concerned because the anti-HERO probably has coattails.

    Exit polling by several campaigns indicate that HERO will fail by about 60% to 40%. One exit poll shows HERO failing 55% to 45%. But you probably already knew that.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    but there is no joy in Liberalville — mighty Parker has struck out.

  3. Katy Anders says:

    I voted for Prop 1 and I still have some hope that it will pass. But the “Bathroom Bill” nonsense sure seems to dominate the discussion.

    Utter dishonesty and fear tactics might pay off after all, at least when you can throw in some pictures of little girls and mention transgenders.

    We’ll see…

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    Manuel, I love the poem. I couldn’t agree more.

  5. Greg Wythe says:

    For whatever gloom is warranted by increased turnout in strong GOP areas, there are still some signs of optimism. From a comment Keir Murray made on facebook:

    “Under 50s got to 22% of total. In 2013 they were 17% of EV and were 20% in 2009.”

    That may not be enough to salvage the egos of our 20-something friends who see such a low vote share for their kind, but it still represents the electorate getting younger. The electorate is also coming more from non-Anglo voters and is still a safely Dem-leaning makeup.

    There’s still work to be done to ensure that multiracial coalitions hold together. And the one election prediction I feel comfortable making would be that Sylvester Turner is about to get a crash course in what works and doesn’t work to make that happen after Tuesday.

  6. MP6914 says:

    I just want to thank you for all of the information you gather and post. This is my first year of delving into the voting world and I found your site most helpful, especially the City Controller interviews. I’ve never voted because I didn’t have time to wade through all the crap and I refuse to vote based on a tv commercial. I prefer to make an educated vote and you have helped me do that.
    Thanks again!

  7. Steve Houston says:

    MB, if all local polls are “BS” as you suggest, why do you change your belief when it comes to HERO? Either all polls are “BS” or they aren’t, you can’t have it both ways just because you favor a specific outcome. HERO winning or failing won’t impact me personally in any significant manner and I’ve already said I think both sides have embellished the consequences yet I doubt this vote will be the end of it all no matter which way it goes.

  8. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steve at 10 pm or thereabouts tonight we will find out.

    As to the end all, you are mistaken, the same way that states and social conservatives have been pushing back on Roe v Wade this election is the first battle for the minds and hearts of Americans on whether secularism will defeat those who believe in God. Three women and two men made a decision that has to considered one of the worse legal decision in the history of the Supreme Court.

  9. Steve Houston says:

    MB, true enough. I was merely pointing out that your two stances were mutually exclusive. Telling the world all local polls are BS on one hand while boasting how various local polls support your contention on the other just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Good luck on your race.

  10. Manuel Barrera says:

    Thanks, Steve

  11. Ross says:

    MB, this is a secular country. You have zero right to push your brand of religion on me, or anyone else. I’ll pass on to you what my Grandmother told me decades ago:

    “Being a Christian is about how you live your life and how you act. It’s not up to you to judge others, or try to make them adhere to your beliefs”

  12. Manuel Barrera says:

    Right Ross, I should be tolerant of your views but you can’t. Time to push back against the persons that hate religion.

  13. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    I think that argument was lost when the country didn’t buy the argument that the tribe of Ham shouldn’t be allowed to marry into the tribes of Shem and Japheth.

    Fortunately for people who remain religious about their intolerance, it’s still legal for a minister to refuse to perform a wedding for two people of different races.

  14. Ross says:

    MB, how is not letting you treat gays and Transgendered folks as scum under secular law being intolerant? You still get to spout your ignorant rubbish, and get to live your life the way you see fit, you just don’t get to stomp on others.

  15. Manuel Barrera says:

    Ross treating Christians like scum makes you what? What is with the name calling?

    Robbie some Christian Churches did that, not all. Using your arguments the homosexual that killed all those people in Montrose in the 70s makes all homosexuals bad?

  16. Ross says:

    MB, how is allowing same sex marriage treating Christians like scum?

  17. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Mr. Barrera, I didn’t say anything about Christians, and, in fact, arguments against racial miscegenation weren’t restricted to Christians 50 years ago. I was pointing out that arguments that the law should conform to a religious belief don’t prevent a government with a commitment to not establishing any religion from going a different way. We have several precedents for that principle.

    You appear to be assuming without any evidence that Ross and I and others who argue against you are not only not religious at all, but also are actively opposed to religion in some manner. Do you really believe that any objection to your positions must arise only from anti-religious bigotry?

    Are you aware that there are Christian churches that support same-sex marriage and allow or even encourage their clergy to officiate at such weddings? Some Christians agree with you, some do not. Other Christians believe that their religion should not sanction such marriages, but that the state can give legal recognition to, for example, Jim Nabors 50+ year relationship that he was unable to ratify until 2013 without causing their church any problems.

    This country’s laws are not intended to establish or adhere to the tenets of any religion. We do not enshrine Sharia law, the rulings of the Pharisees, the deeply held beliefs of the Society of Friends, or your religious convictions in our law merely because the people who adhere to those religions consider those things important. In particular, if you want the law to enforce an imbalance in the legal rights of citizens, you must produce arguments in favor of such laws that are based in something other than religious conviction in order to prevail.

    And randomly discussing serial killers doesn’t actually advance your arguments at all.