At least 5.32M straight-ticket Republican and Democratic votes were cast by Texans in last week’s general election, a new record for the state, and the number could top 5.5M.
Straight-ticket Republican and Democratic votes represent 62% of all votes cast for president in the 170 of the state’s 254 counties from which we have received data. These counties account for 96% of all votes cast for president. This percentage is right about the same as in 2012 (61.7%) and 6.4 percentage points above 2008 (55.6%).
So far, we have counted just short of 2.9M straight-ticket Republican and 2.43M straight-ticket Democratic votes were cast, establishing new records for both parties. The total number of straight-ticket Republican votes is likely to cross the 3M mark. Most of the outstanding counties are red to deep red on the map. Both parties’ straight-ticket vote totals exceed their respective primary turnout, which is typical in Texas.
So far, straight-ticket Republican votes have accounted for 33.7% of all votes cast, a slight decrease from the 2012 record of 34.8% but up considerably from the 2008 mark of 28.99%. The raw number of straight-ticket Republican votes is currently about 160K above the previous record set in 2012, and it is likely to be around 240K more once all counties’ reports are in.
Straight-ticket Democratic votes represent 28.3% of all votes cast, up from 26.95% in 2012 and 26.66% in 2008. The raw number of straight-ticket Democratic votes is already up around 275K over the previous record set in 2012, and it is likely to climb to 350K.
So far, six counties have posted straight-ticket voting rates exceeding 70%, and several more are expected:
- 76.3% – Fort Bend Co., up from 74.7% in 2012 (52% Democratic)
- 74.4% – Rains Co., up from 61.9% in 2012 (87% Republican)
- 73.5% – Waller Co., down from 75.6% in 2012 (64% Republican)
- 73.3% – Wood Co., up from 61.6% in 2012 (87% Republican)
- 71.5% – Gaines Co., up from 61.0% in 2012 (87% Republican)
- 71.3% – Henderson Co., up from 58.3% in 2012 (81% Republican)
Montgomery Co. just missed the cut. Straight-ticket Republican and Democratic votes accounted for 69.8% of all votes cast for president, down from the 72.7% record set in 2012.
Straight-ticket Republican and Democratic votes combined to account for more than two thirds of all votes cast for president in 21 of the 170 counties for which we have data. To put this in perspective, straight-ticket votes accounted for two-thirds or more of the vote in just eight counties in 2012 (out of 212), three in 2008 (out of 184) and none in 2004 (out of 137).
We have not specifically studied straight-ticket votes cast for the Libertarian and Green Parties, but we see anecdotal evidence that records have been set for both parties. Historically, less than one out of every 150 votes cast is a straight-ticket vote for a minor party. In the state’s 10 most populous counties, the combined straight-ticket Libertarian and Green vote represented 1.25% of all votes cast for president, nearly double the 2012 rate of 0.68%. The 2016 rate corresponds to about one out of every 80 votes cast.
We have also not specifically studied undervotes – blank votes or votes for uncertified write-in candidates – historically, but again anecdotal evidence suggests a record number of people voted in the election but did not vote for any of the certified presidential candidates. In Harris Co., the number of presidential undervotes was more than double the 2012 amount, and it was quadruple the 2012 amount in Dallas Co.