Sunday, November 02, 2008

Statistics Upon the End of Early Voting, and the Eve of Election Day

The Texas Democratic Party has a secret weapon in its Voter Activation Network. It gives one unique insight into how the vote is going, and what the trends are. In Fort Bend County, I have some interesting stats to reveal.

Now first, a caveat. The VAN shows too few voters as having early voted in Fort Bend County. They do not yet list the early voter totals that you see when you look at the County Elections webpage, here. At the county site, they show that 148,518 county residents went to the early vote polls. That, friends and neighbors, is 51.2% of the total registered voters in the county. So while the VAN is light in the vote totals, we can look at trends without looking at the raw numbers, which will be a bit off.

Here is one trend. Of the total number of voters that the VAN shows having early voted, 1.2% of them are young voters who are newly registered this year, and have never voted in a presidential election – at least in Fort Bend County anyway.

Early voting is a sophisticated concept that is new to many voters who have voted year in and year out. That 1.2% of the early vote is by those who have never voted in an election of any kind before is absolutely amazing to me.

What about that age group in general? It seems that 30% of all registered voters in Fort Bend County who are between 18 and 30 years old have yet to vote in this election, and will have to show up at the polls on November 4th, or forever hold their piece. And of that group, 76% of them are first time voters – in Fort Bend County, anyway.

Now the youth vote is what everyone is watching because they are uniquely under the radar as far as polling statistics go, and are generally regarded as more likely to vote for Barack Obama than John McGeezer.

If this brand of voter shows up at the polls on Tuesday in big numbers, my guess is that the Republicans who serve as the ruling class in Fort Bend County will take notice.

And maybe some of them, reading the writing on the wall, will start updating their resum├ęs.

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