Thursday, October 30, 2014

Early Voting in Texas' Most Populous Counties Through Day 10

After Wednesday's early voting, the trend is even more similar to 2010 in total votes cast. 2014 totals are 7,770 less than 2010. The chart and graph/table tell the story.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Early Voting in Texas Through Day 9

Day 9 produced an increase in early voting in the 15 most populous counties in Texas. As a result, the cumulative total (IP & VBM) early vote now exceeds the cumulative vote in 2010 by 15,888 votes. Vote by Mail (VBM) early vote is now 61.8 percent more than in 2010; however, In-person early vote is 12.35 percent less than in 2010. The percentage of registered voters who have voted early is 5.81 percent less than in 2010. The graph and tables show the results through day 9 of early voting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Early Voting in Texas' 15 Most Populous Counites Through Monday

The day eight of early voting in Texas for the SOS counties are depicted in the chart and graph/table below:

Normally, early voting during the second week favors Democrats. So, the expectation among Democrats was that early voting would increase significantly during this week. However, total early votes (IP + VBM) are down from 2010, and as a percentage of registered voters, the decrease is 7.16 percent. The question remains: Who voted early?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Early Voting in the 15 Most Populous Counties Through Sunday

With the first seven days of early voting completed, here are the results for the 15 most populous counties. The results in terms of numbers look a lot like 2010. The number of early votes is up by 36,148. However, the percentage of registered voters who have voted is down by 3.14 percent because of the increase in registered voters.

The real question is not how many people voted but who among the registered voters voted. That answer won't come for most of us until November 4th.

Political Campaigns: Turnout vs. Persuasion

John Sides had an interesting post concerning the importance of turnout in the 2014 election for Democrats. The post concerned Sasha Issenberg’s article in the New Republic entitled “How the Democrats Can Avoid Going Down This November” and responses to the article. Here are the key paragraphs from Sides’ post:

So here is where I come down in this debate.  No one disagrees that “turnout matters,” and of course Democrats should work hard at turning out Democratic voters in 2014.  This is what made Issenberg’s piece and Bonier’s analysis so interesting.
The question is how much turnout matters.  My sense is that commentators still put too much emphasis on it.  That is, there is not enough grappling with what changes in the electorate do not explain — such as, perhaps, the majority of Republican seat gains in 2010.  There is not enough grappling with how Democrats did so well in 2006 despite a midterm electorate, as political scientist Michael McDonald has noted.  For more, see Mark Mellman’s four excellent columns on this, and especially political scientist Seth Hill’s research.

Perhaps there is too much emphasis placed on the importance of turnout, but I find Mellman’s posts on the importance of persuasion as unconvincing and self-serving. It’s trite but true that election results depend on who votes: one candidate’s supporters or the other candidate’s supporters (assuming a two candidate contest). If you want to win, then you need to ensure that more of your candidate’s supporters vote than supporters of the other candidate. How do you do that?

First, you need to identify potential voters. This is difficult because you’re dealing with a constantly changing set of people. There are, of course, those voters from the previous general election that are a part of the potential electorate, but some won’t vote, have died, moved out of the electoral district, been incarcerated, or are otherwise disenfranchised. So, good records are important
After determining the potential voters, you need to identify those individuals who are likely to support your candidate. Party identification, if people register as partisans, is good indication of their voting preference or predisposition. When that is not available, records of their voting history are important. One of Issenberg’s more important contributions in his article is the distinction between “reflex voters” and “unreliable voters.” Reflex voters vote in both presidential and non-presidential elections. Unreliable voters are present for presidential elections, but not non-presidential elections.

The chart notes the important characteristics of each type of voter:

The unreliable voters appear very likely to vote for Democratic candidates; so they need to be identified and mobilized. They also need to be persuaded to vote for the Democratic candidate.

Issenberg acknowledges that it’s not just mobilization (turnout) that’s important. You also need to persuade:

The “it will all come down to turnout” meme misapprehends get-out-the-vote operations as a form of ratificationthe final frenzied push to ensure that the people whom candidates have persuaded all year actually cast a ballot. The new playbook on the left, as made evident in the Bannock Street budget, inverts that logic: Democratic Senate campaigns will be designed to mobilize their way into contention, then persuade their way across the finish line.

Furthermore, Issenberg recognizes that it’s not turnout versus persuasion. It takes both for a candidate to be successful in receiving more votes than his opponent. It’s the order of the effort: mobilization followed by persuasion.

To nobody’s surprise, that is the strategy employed by Turn Texas Blue (TTB) in its support for Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial campaign. First, identify the unreliable voters and mobilize them by explaining how the election of Wendy Davis is important to their interests. That is, identify and make contacts. Then, persuade them to act on that knowledge by casting their vote for Davis in November. We’ll see if the strategy is effective. Realizing, of course, that other factors influence the outcome of a gubernatorial election.

Early Voting Through Day 6 in Texas' 15 Most Populous Counties

After six days of early voting, the trend that was evident by Day 3 continues: Voting by Mail (VBM) is up by 68.39 percent, and In-person Voting (IP) is down by 4.25 percent. Overall, the number of early votes cast has increased by 42,375 (5.33 percent), but as a percentage of registered voters (8,978,313) is down by 2.10 percent in the 15 most populous counties. The table and chart/table below depict the comparison with 2010 early voting in the 15 most populous counties:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Early Voting Trend in Texas Continues

The cumulative total early vote for day 5 is shown in the chart/table below. Interestingly, the cumulative early vote as a percentage of registered voters has now dropped below the 2010 early voting, 8.17 percent in 2010 versus 8.09 in 2014.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Predicting Turnout for the November 4, 2014 General Election in Texas

To predict the turnout, I’ll use the numbers available from the Texas Secretary of State for early voting in the 15 most populous counties in Texas. On November 1, 2014, total early votes from those counties should be available. 

Using the total number of early votes from those counties, which have historically constituted between 62-68 percent of the total number of statewide early votes in midterm elections, I’ll predict the total early vote. 

With the prediction of the total early vote, which in recent mid-term elections has constituted about 53 percent of the total vote, I’ll predict the total vote. Then, I’ll use that number to calculate the percentage of registered voters, which the Texas SOS calculates is 14,025,441, that voted. I expect the percentage to be between 40-42 percent.
Return on November 1st to see the calculations. For now, consider the following charts and tables for early voting in Texas.

The data on early voting in the 15 most populous counties can also be displayed as a percentage of the registered voters in those counties. The chart and table are below:

This table compares the early vote in the 15 most populous counties with the early vote in the state. Note that the early vote in the most populous 15 counties (as a percentage of the total early vote) varies between 66-67 percent in presidential election and between 62-66 percent in midterm elections.

Day 12
Tot EV

This table compares the statewide early vote to the total vote. Note that the percentage again varies depending on whether the election is a presidential or midterm election. 

EV State
Tot Vote