Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Texans Over the Top

This image available as bumper sticker here.
Yesterday was the primary election in Texas. And we Texans got the historic opportunity to put Mitt Romney over the top, officially onto the GOP ballot for president. Nice to have the opportunity. 

Another somewhat historic moment of the evening was the relative success of Ted Cruz for Senator, getting into a runoff election with the likely candidate, David Dewhurst. Dewhurst has been Lieutenant Governor since Rick Perry became governor (more than a decade). So his name recognition is off the charts. In addition, he is independently wealthy. If I understand correctly, if he is elected, he will then be the wealthiest US senator—in the range of beyond John Kerry (who has an unknown number of homes, but several times more than Mitt Romney owns). So Dewhurst has not had to rely on fundraising to finance an exorbitant political campaign. He has spun that as “not beholding to any special interest groups,” which is good spin, but implies that no one who isn’t independently wealthy should be elected, and that isn’t exactly the American way.
The voting day tally was Dewhurt 45.86% and Cruz 43.62%. The runoff happens if no candidate reaches 50%, so that in and of itself was a feat. The overall count was lower, because early voting goes on for two weeks in Texas, and the counts are separate and then combined. The trend on election day was much closer than in early voting, which means there is momentum for Cruz. Also, when you consider that those who are voting merely on name recognition—the less informed and less passionate, and presumably less conservative, voters—may not show up for the runoff election, that is an additional plus for Cruz.
There’s a good summary of the situation here.
If you’re into data for fun, here are a couple of sources.
·        Decision 2012 You can get the county results for each state, and also demographic data when they did surveys in various states (not Texas, as it was decided at that point). It’s a good graphic representation of county-by-county results.

·        Real Clear Politics: This is the delegate count, which has been the scorecard up until now to see progress toward the nominee. RCP also has a lot of other polling data, including their daily average of polls. Sometimes you can go deeper and find out who was polled: registered voters means more accuracy than simply adults; likely voters (have voted in recent elections) means more accuracy than registered voters. Interestingly, lately Romney has been doing considerably better in likely voter polls than in registered voter polls; I hope the more accurate polling is more predictive, although this is still very early in the overall campaign (even though we’ve been dealing with this election for more than a year already).

· This is the county site for Harris County, containing Houston and surrounding areas. I expect other counties to provide similar information. There are also archives for past elections, so you can dig into data to your heart’s content. After the immediate results are shown at news sites and in newspapers, what you want to know may disappear without an actual data source like this.
If you’re in Texas, put July 31st on your calendar; that’s the runoff election. There will be just a week of early voting, July 23rd through 27th. Remember that for early voting you can vote at any voting location, but on election day, you must vote at your precinct location. Look that up (at, because it may be that fewer locations will be used.
Between now and then—and on up until the November election—this is the time to get engaged. Commit to candidates, support with money, time, yard signs, etc., where you can. And persuade any persuadable friends to make choices that will support our Constitution and therefore our freedom and prosperity.

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