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More than half of the state’s registered voters have already voted.

Through yesterday (Wednesday), the first-ever 16th day of early voting, at least 8.5M Texans have already cast ballots, equivalent to more than 95% of the total votes cast for president in the 2016 election. Turnout today will likely put early voting in 2020 ahead of all voting in 2016.

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Right around 6M people have voted in the 15 counties with the most registered voters, which is 33% more than the total number of early and absentee votes in those counties in 2016, and about 200K more than the total number of 2016 voters in those counties, including Election Day. After declining for most of the past 10 days, the single-day total of voters in the 15 counties rose to 331K, a 26% increase over Tuesday, and roughly equivalent to either Saturday’s turnout. Aside from 2012, turnout in the 15 counties begins its upward turn on the last Wednesday of the early period (Happened on Thursday in 2012).

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Over the past four presidential election cycles, turnout in these counties on the final Thursday averages 10% higher than the final Wednesday, and the final Friday averages 48% higher than the final Wednesday. If turnout follows averages, that means approximately 850K more of these counties’ residents will cast ballots before early voting ends, bringing their grand total to 6.75M or so early voters, 16% more than the 5.8M who voted in these counties in 2016 including Election Day.

In the 30 counties with the most registered voters, nearly 1 out of every 6 votes has been cast by someone who has not voted in any of the last four primary and general elections, says Republican strategist Derek Ryan. That’s over 1.1M “new” votes in these counties.

If most of those repeat voters return, plus additional “new” voters, then the 12.5M estimate for turnout is in range. Nearly 9M Texans cast a vote for an official presidential candidate in 2016. If the number of voters were to eclipse 12M this year, it would be the equivalent of absorbing the entire electorate of one of the following:

  • Two Harris Counties
  • Colorado plus Wyoming
  • Massachusetts
  • Tennessee plus Rhode Island
  • Wisconsin plus North Dakota; or
  • Washington state.

That’s a huge four-year change, but there are still many existing voters out there. In his latest analysis of early voting, Ryan said there are still 4M voters who have cast ballots in a recent election but have not yet voted.

House Speaker: At least five representatives announced their intent to run or filed paperwork establishing their candidacy for Speaker today (Thursday). Reps. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) and Chris Paddie join two other Democrats, Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) and Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), as the official candidates so far.

The Harris Co. Democratic delegation and Texas Legislative Black Caucus, representing 23 members, have publicly supported Thompson.

PRES (Toss Up): Several new polls continue to paint a muddy picture of an electorate that is showing up in record numbers, possibly confounding pollsters’ efforts to model them properly.

  • A Univ. of Massachusetts-Lowell poll (PDF) has Trump up 1 point, 48%-47%.
  • An RMG Research poll has Trump up by 4 points, 50%-46%, in its baseline projection – Trump is +8 in its “strong Republican turnout” model and the state is a tie in its “strong Democratic turnout” model.
  • A Citizen Data poll has Biden leading by 4 points, 49%-45%, but there are some issues with this poll, and we won’t be including it in our running list of recent polls.

As is the case with most presidential polls here this year, all three of the point spreads are within the polls’ margins of errors.

UMass finds an 11-point lead for Biden among women (53%-42%), while RMG finds it much closer, 49%-47%. RMG also finds the candidates somewhat closer among men (Trump +16) than RMG (+10). The RMG poll finds Biden leading among independents, 43%-30%, while UMass finds Trump leading among its sample’s independent group, 48%-39%.

Crosstabs weren’t provided by Citizen Data, but it appears to have oversampled individuals who are independent but said they lean Democratic “if you had to choose.” This pollster has no track record, so take its seemingly outlier status as you will.

The UMass poll of 873 likely voters was conducted by YouGov, which relies on online panels for its participants. It was in the field October 20-26 and has a ±4.2% margin of error. The RMG poll of 800 likely Texans was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from a sample randomly selected from a list of registered voters who had been first contacted by text message or online engagement. It was in the field October 27-28 and has a ±3.5% margin of error. The Citizen Data of 1,000 likely voters was conducted half by IVR and half online. It was in the field October 17-20 – so it is a week old – and has a ±3.1% margin of error.

What’s clear from just about every poll lately is that hardly anyone intending to vote is still unsure who they’re voting for. UMass found 1% were undecided, and RMG found 2% were undecided.

Of the people who have already voted, UMass found they favored Biden, 52%-46%, while those who have not voted yet favor Trump, 53%-39%. This adds evidence to the narrative of Democrats doing exceptionally well in early voting only to have their leads clawed back by Election Day results.

SEN (Lean Republican): The previously mentioned UMass poll finds U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading M.J. Hegar, 49%-44%, virtually unchanged from its late September poll. The previously mentioned Citizen Data poll finds the race tied, 41%-41%.

AG (2022): The First Court of Appeals has stayed a lower court action returning Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s (R) oft-delayed criminal trial to Collin Co.

Texas Presidential Polls

  • Trump 48, Biden 47 – UMass-Lowell (October) – LV
  • Trump 50, Biden 46 – RMG Research (October) – LV
  • Trump 47, Biden 43 – NYT/Siena Coll. (October) – LV
  • Biden 49, Trump 48 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
  • Trump 50, Biden 45 – Univ. of Houston (October) – LV
  • Biden 48, Trump 45 – DMN/UT-Tyler (October) – LV
  • Trump 47, Biden 47 – Quinnipiac Univ. (October) – LV
  • Trump 46, Biden 44 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
  • Trump 49, Biden 47 – Morning Consult (October) – LV
  • Trump 50, Biden 45 – Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune (October) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (October) – V
  • Trump 51, Biden 44 – Crosswind (October) – LV
  • Trump 49, Biden 49 – EMC Research (October) – LV
  • Biden 47, Trump 45 – Data for Progress (October) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 48 – Civiqs (October) – LV
  • Trump 49, Biden 46 – UMass-Lowell (September) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (September) – LV
  • Trump 46, Biden 45 – Data for Progress (September) – LV
  • Trump 50, Biden 45 – Quinnipiac Univ. (September) – LV
  • Trump 46, Biden 43 – NYT/Siena Coll. (September) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 46 – CBS News/YouGov (September) – LV
  • Trump 46, Biden 46 – Morning Consult (September) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 47 – Public Policy Polling (September) – V
  • Trump 48, Biden 46 – DMN/UT-Tyler (September) – LV
  • Biden 48, Trump 45 – Data for Progress (September) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 47 – Morning Consult (August) – LV
  • Biden 48, Trump 44 – Tyson Group (August) – LV
  • Biden 48, Trump 47 – Public Policy Polling (August) – V
  • Biden 47, Trump 45 – Global Strategy Group (August) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 41 – YouGov/THPF (August) – RV
  • Trump 49, Biden 43 – Trafalgar Group (August) – LV
  • Trump 47, Biden 46 – Morning Consult (August) – LV
  • Biden 47, Trump 45 – Morning Consult (July) – LV
  • Trump 49, Biden 45 – SPRY Strategies (July) – LV
  • Biden 45, Trump 44 – Quinnipiac Univ. (July) – RV
  • Trump 46, Biden 45 – CBS News/YouGov (July) – RV
  • Trump 46, Biden 44 – Gravis/OANN (July) – LV
  • Biden 48, Trump 43 – DMN/UT-Tyler (July) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 44 – UT/Texas Politics Project (July) – RV
  • Biden 45, Trump 44 – Fox News (June) – RV
  • Trump 48, Biden 46 – Public Policy Polling (June) – V
  • Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (June) – V
  • Trump 44, Biden 43 – Quinnipiac Univ. (June) – RV
  • Trump 47, Biden 41 – Emerson (May) – RV
  • Trump 50, Biden 43 – Morning Consult (May) – LV
  • Trump 43, Biden 43 – DMN/UT-Tyler (May) – RV
  • Biden 47, Trump 46 – Public Policy Polling (April) – V
  • Trump 49, Biden 44 – UT/Texas Tribune (April) – RV
  • Trump 45, Biden 44 – DMN/UT-Tyler (March) – RV
  • Trump 49, Biden 45 – Marist Coll. (February) – RV
  • Trump 46, Biden 43 – Univision/Univ. of Houston (February) – RV
  • Biden 48, Trump 47 – CNN/SSRS (February) – RV
  • Trump 47, Biden 43 – UT/Texas Tribune (February) – RV
  • Trump 44, Biden 42 – DMN/UT-Tyler (February) – RV
  • Trump 51, Biden 46 – Texas Lyceum (January) – LV
  • Trump 48, Biden 47 – CNN/SSRS (December 2019) – RV
  • Trump 45, Biden 39 – DMN/UT-Tyler (November 2019) – RV
  • Trump 46, Biden 39 – UT/Texas Tribune (November 2019) – RV

Links go to our coverage or commentary on the polls. If there is no link, then we either did not see the poll or otherwise did not have enough information to report on it. Legend: LV-Likely Voters, RV-Registered Voters, V-Voters

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC