October 28, 2018

Texas early voting surge: A quick hot take

According to the Secretary of State's office, in just the top 30 counties in Texas, which contain about 75 percent of the state's registered voters, a little more than 2.4 million people had engaged in early voting last week.

Let's note just how much a surge this is.

In the last midterm, in 2014, a little over 4.7 million people voted in the governor's race, the top ticket with no incumbent in the race, versus Cornyn for re-election to the Senate.

So, already, we've had people in just the top 30 counties, three-quarters of the state, cast ballots at a rate of more than 50 percent of ALL voting, both early and election day, in ALL 254 counties, of 2014.

Some of this may be cannibalizing election day voting, sure. Most of it, though, probably not.

My guesstimate is somewhere around 5.7 million total ballots will be cast. Even offsetting population growth, that will be up a solid 20 percent from 2014.

So, what's driving this?

Here's my guesstimate on breakout percentages.

I'd say this:

  • 40 percent due to Beto-mania (he'll cut the White Album after the election)
  • 30 percent to Trump Train drive, even with teeth gritted
  •      (Note: I don't see a Beto-like surge being driven by any individual Republican on a statewide race, and the Racist Anarchist in Chief isn't on the ballot, as he'll surely remind people starting Nov. 7)
  • 20 percent non-Beto general #Resistance surging
  • 10 percent undifferentiated.


Take the 20 percent away from the 30 percent, and then take that remaining 10 percent away from the 40 percent. That leaves 30 percent of the surge, on net, for Beto.

That's a net difference of 300,000 voters right there. Cruz won in 2012 by 1.2 million, though, so we are not close.

Let's say that 30 percent translates to the whole 5.7 million. That's 1.7 million.

Beto's not going to beat Ted by 500,000. I'll eat my hat, Beto's skateboard and Havana Ted's White Castles empty boxes if it does.

Split the difference, then, giving Beto the big bump on the surge and a lesser bump on overall turnout and you're at 1 million.

Can Beto get an extra 200,000 votes beyond my hot take guess? Stand by.

And, Ted was running in a presidential year. So, cut his 1.2 million down to, say, 800,000. Take the 300,000 from the new voters alone, and we're at 500,000.

That means Beto has to flip just over 10 percent of the "old" voters. Possible? Sure.

Our Racist Anarchist in Chief has made this election yet more volatile. Richard Linklater is surely taking video from the Trump rally and cutting in words from Trump's incitements to violence, if he has half a brain.

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