Wednesday, November 03, 2010

When Democrats Don’t Vote

As if underlining my previous post on voter turnout, it seems the main culprit for a Fort Bend County Democratic Party rout lies in that very voter turnout.

Or more to the point, lack of one.

Or even more to the point, Republican passion to make this election all about a referendum on Barack Obama. He wasn’t even on the ballot, but it seems Republicans all thought he was and turned out in droves.

I’ll use the straight ticket vote to prove my point.

In 2006 and 2008 it was Democrats who led Republicans in straight ticket votes.

In 2008, a presidential year, 68,517 straight ticket Democratic voters showed up to elect Barack Obama, who nearly won in Fort Bend County, outperforming straight ticket Republican votes by nearly 2,000 votes. Democratic enthusiasm was high.

In 2006 another mid-term election, it was about the same in differences, with 25,260 total straight ticket Democratic votes, again just under 2000 more than straight ticket Republican votes.

But this year, the numbers in Fort Bend County look like this

Straight Ticket Republican Early Vote: 34,486
Election Day Republican Straight Ticket Vote: 17,439
Total Republican Straight Ticket Vote: 51,925
Percent of Total Vote: 37%

Straight Ticket Democratic Early Vote: 20,674
Election Day Democratic Straight Ticket Vote: 18,291
Total Republican Straight Ticket Vote: 38,965
Percent of Total Vote: 27%

See what I mean? Republicans who voted straight ticket out numbered Democrats by nearly 13,000 votes, and Republican straight ticket voters were over one third of all voters who showed up versus a little over a quarter of all voters who voted a straight Democratic ticket.

And compared to performance in the last mid-term, while Democrats increased their straight ticket voting by an over 50% increase over 2006, Republican straight ticket votes rose by 120%.

In other words, yes Democratic interest was high, but Republican interest was higher.

Clearly there was a huge enthusiasm gap that more than made the difference in every single race that the Republicans won in Fort Bend County.

That is, every one of them.

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