Turnout Gone Wild

Posted in 2008 Primary, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, Good Stuff, US Senate Race, Williamson County at 5:44 pm by wcnews

Here’s the latest updated early voting numbers for Williamson County, through Wednesday:

2004 2008
Day R D Total R D Total
Monday 711 145 856
Tuesday 698 159 857 715 1085 1800
Wednesday 577 154 731 838 1416 2254
Thursday 672 172 844 908 1359 2267
Friday 711 179 890 1041 1767 2808
Saturday 725 250 975 1022 2334 3356
Sunday 153 57 210 271 679 950
Monday 797 211 1008 1083 1731 2814
Tuesday 815 286 1101 1203 1914 3117
Wednesday 887 239 1126 1373 2493 3866
TOTAL 6746 1852 8598 8454 14779 23233

These numbers are so astonishing that Paul Burka has taken notice and now thinks that Rick Noriega can beat Sen. John Cornyn.

These numbers are so overwhelming, and the fifteen counties have such a large fraction of the state’s registered voters — 7,815,906 of 12,607,466, or 62% — that what happens in other 239 counties is unlikely to alter the trend. These numbers have made me a believer. Rick Noriega could defeat John Cornyn. The Democrats can win a majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The consummate irony is that George W. Bush, who made Texas a Republican state on his way in to the presidency, may make it a Democratic state on his way out.

Also Harvey Kronberg says, “OK, I agree, this is the most remarkable political campaign cycle in decades”. He even gives Williamson County a shout-out:

But this year, Democrats are substantially out-voting Republicans in the all important GOP strongholds — the suburban counties like Williamson, just north of Austin.

There’s lot of explanations posed by Republicans. Some say their voters are crossing over to vote for Hillary because she will help Republicans in Texas this fall. Some Republican friends tell me they crossed over to vote for Obama because they believe this is a Democratic year and while they ultimately plan to vote for McCain, if it is going to be a Democrat in the White House, they prefer Obama.

Party activists say the primary numbers are misleading and Republican voters will come home next November.

What I do know is this:

Nationally, people who self-identify as Democrats now exceed self-identifying Republicans by 20 percent, the biggest lead for either party since pollsters started asking the question. While I don’t know what the comparable Texas spread is, I would suggest that Governor Perry’s 39 percent win in the last election is probably the size of the unshakeable GOP base vote.

Maybe it’s little more than an aberration driven by an exciting race, but if Democrats do start competing successfully in hard core Republican suburban counties, Texas may actually become a two party state more quickly than most of us expected.

A two party state is what Texas deserves.


  1. CPCons said,

    February 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I know that at least 2 of the Democrat votes are from Republicans who will definitely be voting GOP in November, and I suspect that a good number of them are just that. W didn’t get to pick the GOP candidate; at least we can have a say in who they run against.

  2. wcnews said,

    February 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I think that’s great.

    While there are some like you and your wife, saboteurs, the great many are Democrats that don’t normally vote in the primary, Independents, and disgusted Republicans that will find that voting Democratic ain’t so bad after all.

    There are several local races, especially in Pct. 1 and HD-52, that will keep the local GOP faithful from straying. As you’ll see the R totals are a little more than they were in ’04 which proves the fact that not many of the hard-core R’s are straying.

    I would recommend reading this post at Off The Kuff which talks about the “crossover” issue statewide. Here’s a couple of paragraphs:

    So the anecdotal scorecard is one Republican who might vote for Obama in November, one Republican-leaning independent who is also leaning (perhaps a bit more so than the first guy) to Obama for the general, and one Republican who will only vote in the Dem primary if she thinks she needs to help deny the nomination to Hillary Clinton. I’ll tell you what, I’m happy with the concept of one in three nominal Republicans thinking about a vote for Obama in November. That would be more than enough to put the state in play, and make downballot races like Rick Noriega’s that much more winnable.

    The point I’m trying to make here is simply this: Every nominal Republican who casts a non-strategic vote in the Democratic primary is someone who will discover that doing so will not give them a fatal case of the cooties. Some number of these people will then realize that it’s okay to vote for one or more Democrats in the general election. How big that population is, and how far down the ballot they’ll be willing to go, are the $64,000 questions for this year. I hope we see some polling data to address that, but regardless I hope the lesson that the powers that be in the state Democratic Party take away is that the old rules are no longer valid. The assumption that Democrats cannot win at the state level should be firmly discarded, and the opportunity that is being presented here should be zealously pursued. Anyone still operating with a 2006 mindset should be ignored.

  3. CPCons said,

    February 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I’m hardly a nominal Republican. It just galls me to have ‘Democratic’ stamped on my voter’s registration card, and I will burn it next Tuesday night after I attend your caucus. Cornyn is one of the best pols in the state, and I will be working for him. So I will be voting straight-party in November, and that party will be Republican.

  4. wcnews said,

    March 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    With the kind of turnout we’ve had in the Democratic Primary you are a marginal Republican. And you’ll do little to choose our nominee. Thanks for reading and commenting at EOW.

  5. Eye on Williamson » Texas Blog Round Up (March 2, 2008) said,

    March 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

    […] On Williamson has been chronicling the Turnout Gone Wild in Williamson County. Dembones wrapped up the early voting with a Final Early Voting Report, and is […]

  6. Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up: March 3, 2008 | BlueBloggin said,

    March 3, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    […] On Williamson has been chronicling the Turnout Gone Wild in Williamson County. Dembones wrapped up the early voting with a Final Early Voting Report, and is […]

  7. Eye on Williamson » Early voting numbers through the weekend said,

    February 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    […] the numbers in 2008 and 2004 as well. Here’s our final post on turnout numbers from 2008, Turnout gone wild, which contains those […]

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