The first part of results from the latest annual Texas Lyceum Poll were released today (Wednesday). We will have more to say about the poll, and its relation to other recent polls and surveys, after complete results are released. In the meantime, we found a few particular results of interest heading into the general election.
One in five poll respondents say they do not vote in any elections. Only 13% of respondents said they were not registered to vote in Texas, so at least some voters are registered but have not voted in any elections “over the past two or three years.” Newly registered voters would of course not have voted in recent elections, but the poll result raises the notion that some voters who register never vote.
Just over half of respondents say they voted in every (26%) or “almost every” (28%) election. Another 11% voted in “about half” of elections, and 15% say they voted in “one or two” elections. These numbers are a bit at odds with recent turnout, measured as percent of registered voters who cast ballots:
- About 30% of RVs voted in the 2016 Democratic or Republican primary, but just 4% voted in the primary runoff elections
- About 11% voted in the 2015 general election, which included constitutional amendments statewide and local races
- About 35% voted in the 2014 general election; and
- About 59% voted in the 2012 general election.
If the poll results were generalizable across the population, turnout should have been significantly higher in the primary, primary runoff and 2014 general election. It could be that many voters are unaware, or do not count, elections other than the even-year general elections and an occasional primary.
The other result that caught our eye was the partisan breakdown of voters’ intentions to vote. As the likelihood of voting increases, the pool of potential voters grows more Republican:
- 38% of all 1,000 poll respondents “consider [themselves]” Republicans while 41% identify as Democrats
- 41% of the 862 registered voters consider themselves Republicans while 42% identify as Democrats; and
- 50% of the 502 “likely voters” consider themselves Republicans – 12% more than the overall poll of respondents – while 39% consider themselves Democrats.
We’ll have a more precise picture when the full crosstabs are released, but we can estimate the partisan makeup of the two groups of non-participating voters. Around 45% of registered voters who are not considered likely voters identify as Democrats, but just 28% of that group calls themselves Republicans. Of the group who said they were not registered to vote, around 35% said they were Democrats while about 20% said they were Republicans.