Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Party Identification in Texas, February 2019

In party identification among Texas registered voters, there is little change in party identification since the last Texas Tribune/UT Poll. The February numbers are similar. Republicans have a small advantage over Democrats in terms of strong and weak partisans (4 percent), and independents and leaners are the largest group at 35 percent.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Beginning of the End

By 2022, the run of Republicans' hold on statewide offices in Texas will end. The realignment that started during the 1980s, created parity between the parties in 1990, and produced a Republican Party that dominated Texas elections during the late 1990s to 2014 will end soon. Republican Party support achieved its zenith in party identification in the mid-2000s, and currently, partisan attachments among registered voters in Texas are split equally among Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

These charts illustrate my argument:

Note that Republican Party identification reached 42 percent of the registered voters in 2004 and 2005. Since then, party identification has declined for Republicans to around one-third of registered voters. Currently, party identification among Texas registered voters is approximately equally split among Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

Additional support for my contention that Democrats will win a statewide office in 2022 is the decline in the Republican Party's advantage in the straight-ticket vote since its high in 2014.

The gap was nearly identical in 2010, when Rick Perry was elected to his last term as governor, and in 2014, when Greg Abbott was elected to his first term as governor. The gap was 16.96% in 2010 and 17.87% in 2014.

The negligible gap in 2018 was the result of "Beto-mania" to some extent, but it also reflects the organizing done by Democrats at the grass-roots level. Whether my prediction is correct or not, 2022 statewide elections will prove very interesting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Texas US House Members & Texas House Members

Yesterday, Mark Jones posted the Lib/Con scores of Texas' U.S. House members in the last Congress in the Texas Tribune. The graph is below:

The Texas House Lib/Con scores from the last session of the Texas legislature are charted below:

The interesting observation from the comparison is that the Republican Texas House members in the Texas legislature are less conservative, on average, than the Texas U.S. House members. Also, the Democratic Texas House members are more liberal than the Democratic Texas U.S. House Members. The average Democratic Texas U.S. House member is -1.2 on the Lib/Con scale, and the average Democratic Texas House member is -1.7 on the Lib/Con scale. On the Republican side, the average Texas U.S. House member is 1.0 on the Lib/Con scale, and the average Texas House member is -0.2 on the Lib/Con scale. Also, the most liberal Democratic Texas House member is -1.9, and the most liberal Democratic Texas U.S. House member is -1.4. Similarly, the most conservative Republican U.S. House member is 1.8, and the most conservative Republican Texas House member is 0.8.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Center for Public Policy and Political Studies Report #14

The most recent report that I authored for the ACC Center for Public Policy and Political Studies on straight-ticket voting in Texas is available here. The report shows that the percentage of straight-ticket voters in the 48 counties that provided 86 percent of the votes cast in 2018 was slightly more than two-thirds (67.49 percent). Furthermore, the votes cast for the Democratic Party nearly equaled  the percentage cast for the Republican Party. Unless the law passed in 2017 is rescinded, 2018 will be the last opportunity for voters to choose the "one-punch," straight-ticket vote in Texas. Anticipate longer lines and more time in the voting booth in 2020.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Dreaded, Unspeakable "I" Word

Yes, according to the UT/Texas Tribune Poll, only six percent of Texans favor an income tax.

However, with rising property taxes at the local level of government--primarily to support public education, the legislature would do well to think the unthinkable--an income tax. Why?

In Article VIII of the Texas Constitution, an amendment, passed in 1993, required that if the Texas legislature created a personal income tax and voters approved it, the revenues would have to be distributed to reduce the property tax for public education (two-thirds of the revenue) and to support public education (one-third of the revenue). 

The combination of rising property taxes to fund public schools, the decline in the percentage of funding for public education that is provided by the state--approximately 36 percent, and the growing number of school districts that are required to share their property tax revenue with poor districts under Chapter 42 has created a perfect storm for a consideration of a personal income tax.

How would it work? In 2005, Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) offered an income tax bill (HB 33) during the first special session of the 79th Legislature. Borrowing the tax rates from that proposal, the chart displays how various income levels would be affected by an income tax.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Straight-ticket Vote and Swing Vote in Cruz/O'Rourke Contest for the US Senate in 2018

In preparing a report for ACC's Center for Public Policy & Political Studies, I found an interesting relationship between the straight-ticket vote and the swing vote (non-straight-ticket vote) in the contest between incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O'Rourke. In the seven counties that cast slightly more than one-half of the total vote in Texas, here is the relationship between the straight-ticket vote and swing vote in each county for each candidate.

Although the correlation between the straight-ticket vote and swing vote is not perfectly correlated, the Pearson for Cruz is .854 and for O'Rourke is .874.

It is fairly obvious that in these counties, both candidates did well in drawing the straight-ticket vote and the swing vote in the counties that they won.

Here are the results for each of the counties in the graphs:




% Swing
Cruz Harris 44.0% 32.05%
Dallas 34.7% 29.63%
Tarrant 53.8% 39.38%
Bexar 40.9% 38.11%
Travis 27.1% 20.61%
Collin 58.2% 41.65%
Denton  61.7% 37.47%
O'Rourke Harris 55.3% 66.97%
Dallas 64.7% 69.35%
Tarrant 45.6% 59.44%
Bexar 58.3% 61.89%
Travis 71.8% 78.37%
Collin 41.3% 56.90%
Denton  37.6% 61.39%
Pearson Coefficient CRUZ O'Rourke
0.854109 0.873526

And the Table showing the result in each county:

Cruz SV
Harris Lost Lost O'Rouke
Dallas Lost Lost O'Rouke
Tarrant Won Lost O'Rouke
Bexar Lost Lost O'Rouke
Travis Lost Lost O'Rouke
Collin Won Lost Cruz
Denton  Won Lost Cruz

Monday, December 31, 2018

Who Voted in Texas in 2018 by Previous Participation in Elections

Michael Li posted this chart on Facebook. It shows the prior voting behavior of voters in the 2018 midterm election in Texas.

What strikes me is that 14 percent had no previous voting history, which leads one to believe that there were a lot of young people voting. That may not be the case. It could be people who have moved to Texas from other states, e.g. California. A majority (56 percent) had voted in a previous midterm in Texas--either in both midterms (33 percent) or one midterm (23 percent). Thirty percent had voted in a presidential election since 2012 (12 percent in both 2012 and 2016, and 18 percent in either 2012 or 2016).