Friday, November 07, 2008

Fort Bend Voters in the Final Analysis

So I want to put this election to rest today, or so I hope. The headline on the Fort Bend Star this week says it all: “Fort Bend voting breaks records but Republicans still triumphant.”

And all but for the very bottom of the ticket, that is a correct statement.

While Barack Obama carried the day in the Electoral College and popular vote, he failed to win in Fort Bend County, despite the huge voter turnout. My guess is, because of the very strong feelings Republicans in this county have against having a black Democratic president, Republicans themselves turned out in their greater numbers.

They did that everywhere but in Precinct 1, where they may have split their vote between the Democrat, Richard Morrison, whose name is forever associated with opposition to the Grand Parkway toll road, and Greg Ordineaux whose name is intricately linked with toll roads in general.

The theory goes that voter demographic shifts can be best revealed in looking at the non-controversial county-wide level.

Judge races in other words.

And this time we saw some races in the very uncontroversial areas like district judges and appeals court justices that were much closer than in any time in the past.

Except for Jim Sharp, who actually won his race this time for 1st Court of Appeals Court Judge, these races were squeakers for the Republican incumbents.

Look at my graphic. I deduced the way Democrats and Republicans voted in these non-controversial races and can see a trend. From a near 40:60 Democratic to Republican ratio in the nineties, we see the spread between the two parties get narrower. From 40:60 in the early nineties, to 42:58 in the late nineties, and ’00 to ’02, to 45:55 in ’04 and ’06, to 49:51 this year.

And this is ahead of the “Obama Bump,” I think, because of the undervotes associated with these judge races, and because even after discounting undervotes, the proportions voting for Obama were just about the same as the ones voting for Democrats for judgeships.

No, I think we are witnessing an effective shift in voter demographics in Fort Bend County, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 to 2% per election cycle.

That being said, as Bev Carter mentions in her weekly Fort Bend Star column, if Democrats don’t file for every countywide race there is in 2010, there is something seriously wrong as it looks like, barring any change in the trend, it will be their big year.

Our big year.

Our big year to flip this county.

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