Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 Primary Early Voting Results

With only the Memorial Day weekend to get through until Primary Election Day, the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll and Burnt Orange Report poll released earlier this week suggests that both the Texas Democratic and Republican Parties may need July 31 runoff elections to select the names that will appear on the November ballot for retiring Kay Bailey Hutchinson's U.S. Senate seat. If a runoff election is scheduled, early voting will run from Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27.

The pace of voter traffic at early polling places quickened through the second week of early voting across Collin County with the heaviest traffic coming on the last day, Friday.

Several Collin County polling places were quite busy on Friday with heavy Republican voter traffic. Democratic Party voter turnout was also somewhat heavier on Friday, but GOP voters still topped Democratic Party voters by nearly a 10 to 1 ratio.

On Thursday, 3,039 people voted early in the Republican Primary and an additional 5,993 people voted the Republican ballot on Friday. For the Democratic Party's primary 337 people voted early on Thursday and an additional 651 people voted the Democratic ballot on Friday.

In Collin County, the tally for GOP in-person voting through the close of early voting on Friday May 25, stood at 25,257 voters checked in to vote. Collin County had the fifth highest early Republican turnout among all 254 Texas Counties.

The tally for Democratic Party in-person voting at the close of early voting stood at 2,963 voters checked to vote. Collin County ranked thirteenth in early Democratic Party turnout among all 254 Texas Counties. (see table below the fold at bottom.)

The 2010 Collin County Republican primary early voting tally was 27,078 ballots cast, exceeding that party's 2008 early voting tally of 24,234 ballots cast. An additional 29,471 people turned out to vote in the 2010 Collin County Republican primary on election day to boost that party's final 2010 primary total to 57,539 votes cast. The total early and election day Republican Primary vote tally in 2008 was 51,887 ballots cast. The 2012 early Republican vote count stands middle-way between the 2008 and 2010 early vote tallies.

The 2008 primary contest between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton drew 36,636 early voters and another 36,091 voters on election day for a total of 72,727 primary voters. The 2010 Collin County Democratic primary early voting tally was 2,658 in-person votes with an additional 3,528 people voting on election day to boost the final 2010 primary total for that party to 6,227 votes. With 2,963 voters checked in to vote early for the 2012 Democratic Primary the count is about 300 votes ahead of the 2010 early vote tally.

The Democratic Party's County Chair contest is about the only county wide primary contest that anyone is talking about in Collin Co. The 2010 U.S. Congressional candidate John Lingenfelder is trying hard to retire incumbent Democratic Party of Collin County Chair, Shawn Stevens.

While both candidates are doing some robo-calling to get Democrats out to vote, Lingenfelder says that a significant number of Democratic Party of Collin County Precinct Chairs are making live phone calls and knocking on doors to help him unseat incumbent Chair Stevens.

The only other two contested ballot positions on the Democratic ballot for all of Collin County are four candidates, including Pres. Obama, for the party's Presidential nomination and four candidates, including former state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson and Sean Hubbard, running for retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison's U.S. Senate seat. No one in Collin County is working hard to dial the phone and knock on doors for any of these top of the ballot candidates.

Lingenfelder Phone msg

Most of the Democratic get out the vote activity is on the Democratic Party's down ballot county chair race. Relatively few grassroots Democrats in the county feel any connection to the county party organization.

The most common comment made by early Democratic Primary voters as they check in to vote is that they feel like they are the only Democrat in the county.

County Chair candidate Lingenfelder has picked up on this common feeling among county Democrats to create campaign phone messaging.

In the Republican race for retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison's U.S. Senate seat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst leads former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz by 9 to 13 points according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll and Burnt Orange Report poll. Dewhurst, currently with a 40 percent share in the UT/TT popularity poll, must break 50 percent of the primary vote to avoid a runoff, but that looks like a tall obstetrical to jump with just one more day of primary voting to come on May 29. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is at 17 percent to Cruz's 31 percent, and former ESPN analyst Craig James is at 4 percent.

Dewhurst portrays himself as the reserved, self-made conservative millionaire. The lieutenant governor is facing off against Ted Cruz, the feisty son of a Cuban exile who calls himself "a proven fighter for liberty because his family knows what it means to lose it." The underdog is former Dallas mayor and businessman Tom Leppert, who offers himself as the no-nonsense alternative to politics as usual.

Tea Party favorite Cruz has waged a fierce campaign to the right of Dewhurst, at times with the help of the Club for Growth, a national conservative group that has spent $2 million on ads targeting Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. In defending against Cruz and Leppert Dewhurst, as well as a Super PAC working on his behalf, have countered with their own round of tough ads attacking Cruz within the past three weeks. Dewhurst invested another $6 million of his own money in his campaign in mid-May to counter efforts by Club for Growth and other Tea Party affiliated groups to paint him as a "non-consevative" candidate. (Read Eileen Smith's Texas Observer article, "The Texas Senate Race: Right, Righter and Rightest.")

In the Democratic primary, which has struggled to rouse much interest among Democratic voters, former state Rep. Paul Sadler leads in the U.S. Sentate race with 29 percent of poll respondents, but Sean Hubbard closely trails at 25 percent. The two lesser-known candidates, Addie Dainell Allen and Grady Yarbrough, poll at 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

In the presidential race, Mitt Romney is winning Texas GOP voters polling at 63 percent among the other Republicans on the ballot; Ron Paul follows with 14 percent. In a general election match up, Romney tops President Obama, 55 percent to 35 percent, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

Top 15 Early Voting 2012 Counties in Texas for GOP and Democratic Party Voters

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