Early voting continues through Friday. Today (Monday) was Day 8.
Through the first seven days, just under 3M people – 24.3% of registered voters – have cast ballots in person and by mail in the 30 counties with the most registered voters. Another 600K votes cast in those counties will push early voting turnout past total turnout in 2014 including Election Day.
Consistent with recent history, turnout on Sunday was the lowest of the week. However, Sunday’s turnout more closely tracked to the 2016 presidential election than any recent gubernatorial election. Travis Co. set a Sunday record when nearly 3K more people voted yesterday than on the Sunday in 2016. El Paso Co. also set a Sunday record.
In the 15 counties with the most registered voters, just over 2.5M voted during the first week of early voting. That is just over 300K more voters casting ballots than in the first week of early voting in 2006, 2010 and 2014 combined. Only 2016 saw a higher early vote total through the first week. This year’s turnout exceeds every other presidential election year’s first week.
Williamson Co. is the only one among the modified Top 15 (Nueces Co. is swapped for Brazoria Co. because we have data for Nueces Co. going back several elections.) to see higher turnout to date than in 2016. El Paso (111%), Collin (103%) and Williamson (101%) Cos. have already seen higher turnout through seven days than during the entire 12-day early voting period in 2014.
Lubbock (99%), Hays (96%), Denton (95%), Fort Bend (92%) and possibly Hidalgo (90%) Cos. exceeded their 2014 total early turnout today (Monday).
Measured as the percent of registered voters casting ballots, turnout is highest in Comal (32%), Williamson (32%), Collin (31%), Smith (29%) and Brazoria (28%) Cos. Turnout is lowest in Webb (14%), Cameron (16%), Bell (19%), El Paso (20%) and Hidalgo (20%) Cos.
Primary voters continue to be the dominant bloc in the modified Top 15 counties. Republican primary voters with no recent Democratic primary history have cast about 32% of votes so far, according to the latest analysis by Republican consultant Derek Ryan. Democratic primary voters with no recent Republican history have cast about 28% of early votes. That difference amounts to more than 84K votes. In other words, voters with only Republican primary history have out-voted Democrats by 84K votes in the state’s most populous counties. In smaller counties, which are generally redder, Republican primary voters are likely outpacing Democrats by a wider percentage.
More than two thirds of voters who participated in the last four of their chosen party’s primaries have already cast ballots, as have more than three fifths of voters participating in three of the last four primaries. The percentages decline as past primary participation becomes less frequent.
Voters with no recent primary history have cast 37% of ballots so far this year. Just over 32% of all voters in the 2014 general election, including on Election Day, had no recent primary history. Both of these percentages are much lower than in 2016, when about 47% of voters had no recent primary history. Election Day voters are less likely to have primary histories – 60% of Election Day voters in 2016 were not primary voters. – so we expect the current 37% share to rise.
Voters under age 30 have comprise roughly 10% of the electorate, up from around 6% in 2014. In a further sign that the electorate has gotten slightly younger, every age group under age 50 comprises a higher share of the vote compared to 2014 and every age group 50 and over comprises a lower share than in 2014. Voters under 50 have cast about 38% of the ballots so far, up from around 29% four years ago.
Voters with a Hispanic surname have cast about 19% of ballots so far, up from around 15% in 2014. Women have cast 54% of the ballots for which gender could be determined, which is virtually the same as in 2014.
So, there are some positive numbers in there for Democratic campaigns. However, at the statewide level, there’s still the matter of an 84K-vote deficit among primary voters which has to be made up before any deficit among any other kind of voters can be addressed.
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