Saturday, October 10, 2020

At 63.9% Turnout - Biden Wins Texas

The thing most pundits and polling prognosticators miss about Texas is the growing disparity between the red and blue parts of the state with each passing election. 

The blue part has been growing a deeper shade of blue as the number of registered voters spikes up in the blue part each presidential election cycle, while the number of voters in the red part remains more or less stagnant.

The rapidly growing population of state's 12 most populous urban, suburban, and exurban counties — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, Montgomery, and Williamson counties — has not only grown increasingly left-leaning over the past 20 years, the voters in those counties represent an increasingly dominant share of the state’s electorate.

The count of registered voters in those 12 increasingly blue counties grew from 7.15M (57.8% of all registrations) in 2000 to 9.66M (61.2% of all registrations) in 2018, while the count of registered voters in the remaining 242 counties increased from 5.22M (42.2% of all registrations) in 2000 to only 6.13M (38.8% of all registrations) in 2018.

Included the 242 mostly rural less populous counties are 23 blue counties — many, the Hispanic-majority counties in south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley region — that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Beto O’Rourke in 2018, where both out performed Pres. Obama’s 2012 wins in those counties. There were just over 1M registered voters across those 23 counties in 2018, up from 881K in 2000.

In 2000, George Bush beat Al Gore 56% to 41% in the 12 urban/suburban counties, with only Gore winning only El Paso and Hidalgo counties. Bush also won the remaining 242 counties 64% to 34%. Bush won the state overall 59.3% to 38.0%.

But in 2018, Beto O’Rourke beat Sen. Ted Cruz 57.8% to 41.4% in the 12 counties, with Cruz winning only suburban Collin and Denton counties by historically slim margins of 6 and 8 points respectively, and exurban Montgomery county by a wide margin. Cruz also lost all the 23 smaller rural blue counties and won the aggregate vote of the remaining 219 red rural counties 67% to 32.4%. Cruz won the state overall by just 50.9% to 48.3%. Cruz was able to beat Beto O’Rourke in 2018 only by running up his vote two-to-one in Texas' 219 staunchly Republican rural counties that held only 5.1M of the state’s 2018 electorate. If Beto had increased his turnout by just little more across the 12 urban/suburban counties, he would have won.

Table 4 below shows that for the 2020 election, just over 16.8M Texans are registered to vote, with 10.48M (62.2%) of those registrations in the 12 urban, suburban and exurban counties, and 6.36M (37.8%) of the registrations in the 242 rural counties. Actually, subtracting the registrations of the 23 rural blue counties from the rural county count leaves the aggregate registration count of the staunchly red rural counties at only 5.36M.

For the 2020 general election, voters across the 12 increasingly blue most populous urban/suburban counties (plus the 23 rural blue counties) outnumber the stagnant red rural county voters by a two-to-one margin.

Only 59.4 percent of the 15.1 million people who were registered to vote in 2016 cast a ballot in that election. Texas turnout has been at or below the 59 percent mark over many presidential election cycles. The last time Texas turnout topped 60 percent was 1992 when 72.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot for G.H.W Bush, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, or other minor candidate.

Polling data suggests suburban voters have a very high level of interest in the election this year. Arguably more than any other group nationwide, suburban voters shifting away from Republican candidates to vote for Democrats were responsible for returning Democrats to majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. It was the suburban voters in Texas who brought Beto O’Rourke within three-and-a-half points of winning the statewide vote in 2018.

For the 2020 election, suburban voters are poised to decide not just who wins the White House this year but also who controls the Senate and the contours of the debate over guns, immigration, work, schools, housing and health care for years to come.

The reasons for suburbanites’ leftward shift are many. Suburban voters have grown more racially diverse, more educated, more economically prosperous and more liberal — all factors making them more likely to vote Democratic. But demographers and political scientists are just as likely to point to another trend: density. Suburbs have grown more crowded, looking more and more like cities and voting like them, too.

Like a blast pressure wave expanding outward in a concentric ring around an explosive core, a “political flip zone” is emerging outward through the suburbs from an urban city center core as population density builds to the critical “flip level” and expands outward.

The midterm elections of 2018 showed the flip zone expansion accelerated in the era of Trump, with dramatic consequences. Democrats across the country penetrated deeper into the suburbs, finding voters farther away from the urban core, enabling Democrats to flip a net 39 U.S. House and state legislative district seats in 2018.

“Flip zone expansion” is the perfect description of the what is happening in suburbs around the 12 major metropolitan areas of Texas. The 2020 political dynamics of the Trump effect will most likely further expand the 12 major flip zones across Texas. And that may finally boost voter turnout above the critical 60 percent of registered voters mark.

The Guardian:The Texas electorate is changing – but could Biden really flip the state? — There are two opposing visions of the suburbs described in this election. For Donald Trump, a now archaic depiction of neighborhoods under threat from change: “If he [Joe Biden] ever got to run our country, our suburbs would be gone,” he said during the first presidential debate. For Biden, an increasingly realistic assertion that suburban life is no longer a relic of whites’ only communities in the 1950s but dynamic and multicultural: “He wouldn’t know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn,” Biden retorted in the same debate.

Projecting from the trends in election results from the last several presidential cycles using a slightly higher level of turnout shows it is entirely possible for Biden to win Texas’ 38 electoral college votes.

If total turnout reaches at least 63.9 percent of registered voters, Table 1 shows Joe Biden can win Texas by a slim margin of one-half of one point — 49.9 to 49.4 percent. That amounts to Biden winning Texas by about 55,000 votes. Further, Biden’s win margin widens as the level of turnout increases beyond the 63.9 percent mark. Tables 2 and 3 show the breakout aggregate votes for Texas 12 most populous urban/suburban counties and 242 rural rural counties.

254 COs

2012

2016

2018

2020

Rep

4.57M

57.2%

4.69M

52.2%

4.26M

50.9%

5.31M

49.4%

Dem

3.31M

41.4%

3.88M

43.2%

4.05M

48.3%

5.36M

49.9%

Other

115.9K

1.4%

406.3K

4.5%

65.5K

0.8%

82.1K

0.8%

Total

7.99M

58.6%

8.97M

59.4%

8.37M

53.0%

10.76M

63.9%

Voters

13.65M

100%

15.10M

100%

15.79M

100%

16.84M

100%

Table 1. Presidential vote for all 254 counties
with 2020 projection.


12 COs

2012

2016

2018

2020

Rep

2.42M

50.1%

2.37M

43.0%

2.18M

41.4%

2.67M

39.2%

Dem

2.33M

48.4%

2.87M

52.0%

3.04M

57.8%

4.09M

60.0%

Other

75.6K

1.6%

277.0K

5.0%

42.3K

0.8%

54.5K

0.8%

Total

4.82M

59.6%

5.52M

60.2%

5.26M

54.4%

6.81M

65.0%

Voters

8.10M

100%

9.16M

100%

9.66M

100%

10.48M

100%

Table 2. Presidential vote for Texas' 12 most
populous counties with 2020 projection.


242 COs

2012

2016

2018

2020

Rep

2.15M

68.0%

2.32M

67.0%

2.08M

66.9%

2.64M

66.9%

Dem

0.98M

30.8%

1.01M

29.2%

1.01M

32.4%

1.28M

32.4%

Other

40.2K

1.3%

129.3K

3.7%

23.1K

0.7%

27.6K

0.7%

Total

3.17M

57.1%

3.45M

58.1%

3.11M

50.8%

3.95M

62.0%

Voters

5.55M

100%

5.95M

100%

6.13M

100%

6.37M

100%

Table 3. Presidential vote for Texas' 242
rural counties with 2020 projection.


Yr

TL TX

Delta

% Voted

12 Co

242 Co

1976

6.64M


64.8%



1980

7.90M

359K

68.4%



1984

8.20M

1.26M

68.3%



1988

8.44M

302K

66.2%



1992

10.54M

238K

72.9%

4.67M

3.77M

1996

12.37M

2.10M

53.2%

5.93M

4.61M

2000

12.37M

1.82M

51.8%

7.15M

5.22M

2004

13.10M

733K

56.6%

7.58M

5.52M

2008

13.58M

477K

59.5%

7.93M

5.64M

2012

13.65M

71K

58.6%

8.10M

5.55M

2016

15.10M

1.5M

59.4%

9.16M

5.95M

2018

15.79M

692K

53.0%

9.66M

6.13M

2020

16.84M

1.7M

64.0%

10.48M

6.37M

Table 4. Voter Registrations for
all 254 counties, and portions for
the 12 most populous counties and
remaining 242 rural counties.


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