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Earlier this year, Collin County Democrats turned out in unheard of numbers for the Primary election, outnumbering Republican voters for the first time in a generation.
A number of local Republicans, at a loss to explain the large Democratic primary turnout, cite Rush Limbaugh's appeal to conservatives to vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton, because ol' Rush thought that Clinton would "bloody up" Obama.
Most 2008 democratic primary voters were first time primary voters. They had never voted in any party’s primary. For the first time, these closet Dems were given a real choice at a primary that mattered. Is it a surprise they were motivated to vote?
Many were first time voters. Less than 3% had ever voted in a GOP primary, and less than 1% had voted in more than one GOP primary.
Let's look at the facts (all statistics are Collin County only).
- 72,727 Democrats voted in their primary. That was 19.1% of all registered voters. Barack Obama won garnering 55.3%.
- 51,887 Republicans for 13.6% of registered voters. John McCain won a plurality of 47.73%.
Looking at just the Democratic voters:
- Only 2,102 (2.9%) of them voted in the 2006 GOP Primary.
- 625 (0.8%) had previously voted in the 2006 and the 2004 GOP Primary
- 63,112 (87%) had never voted in ANY primary.
- 12,781 (18%) had not voted in any major election.
The statistics show that Republicans did not vote in the Democratic primary in any great number. The “Limbaugh” call to arms failed. My interpretation of the data is that the Obama / Clinton duel inspired a huge number of usually apathetic or disenfranchised citizens to vote. This interpretation is further strengthened by the addition of 42,273 of new registered Collin County voters in 2008 – 2,640 of them voted in the Democratic primary, while only 1,094 voted in the GOP primary.
The conclusion is inescapable – In 2008, the Democratic Party offered the voters a meaningful choice; a choice that was critical to the Presidential race. The Democrats offered the voters 2 charismatic candidates who appealed to disenfranchised voters – and those voters went to the polls and cast their ballot in the primary of their choice.
The question still remains whether these same non-traditional voters will return to the polls for the general election.
During the first four days of early voting, the Republican voters were more likely to have cast their ballot, but the margin was a narrow one. While 24.1% of Republicans had already voted, only 23.6% of the Democrats had. The small margin, coupled with the much larger Democratic numbers mean that even though Republicans are more likely to vote, they are being outnumbered by registered Democrats - and by a wide margin.
After 6 days of early voting (through Saturday), 79,350 voters had cast their ballot. I have been able to analyze 75,513 of them:
- 33.1% (24,992) were registered Democrats
- 23.4% (17,694) were registered Republicans
- 43.5% (32,827) did not vote in the primary
As in most elections, the deciding voters will be the Independents. In Collin County, we can expect the majority of these Independents to vote for Republican candidates. The big question is, "How many of those Independents will vote Republican in 2008?".
We can gain some inferences from looking at previous races.
In the 2004 Presidential election, 222,048 independent (non-primary) voters cast their ballots - 72% of them for Republican George Bush. However, in the more recent 2006 Precinct 2 commissioners court race, only 65% of the Independents voted for the Republican incumbent, Jerry Hoagland.
Many think the key factor will be the newly registered voters. In the primaries, these voters chose the Democrats more than 2 to 1 over the Republicans.
To win in 2008, the Republicans will have to keep at least 55% of the non-primary Independents. If you factor in the newly registered, the Republicans must hold on to over 60% of the Independent vote.
We'll all know if they did on November 4.
When asked to explain your reasons for voting for Obama, you tell me that this site is for local issues only and not for national issues, yet here you are discussing a national issue.
How hypocritical of you.
Local voting patterns and projections are not national issues.
You need to get over yourself, otherwise people will think you are a tiresome bore.
Hint: When I get testy, a piece of pie and a cup of joe works nicely.
I think your analysis, while I disagree with some of it, is VERY interesting and a great subject to debate. Keep it up!
The Republican party is in trouble, not because of the DEmocrats, but because of its own behavior. The only way to have a clean Republican party is a a vibrant opponent. I think the Democratic party is missing some great opportunities but we have a start.
because old Rush thought that McCain would easily defeat the black candidate.
Good call Rush! Even if McCain pulls it off it won't be easily.
I voted for Obama last Monday in early votign as well! We definitely had a choice this time, one that has swayed my household at least!
I have corrected a factual misstatement in this posting. I had erroneously written that Rush called for Republicans to vote for Obama. That was wrong. In fact, he called for conservatives and Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton, in the hopes that she would "bloody up" the Democratic front runner.
I apologize for the error.
You realize that the Democrats have held power over the Congress for two years, right? The Congress that has the lowest approval rating in history, lower than President Bush?
In regards to Collin County, we have a 4.8% unemployment rate right now. If you want to make it like California's 7.7% with their $14 billion deficit, vote Democrat.
Deleted by Bill
Thank you for your thoughts. My comments were directed at the situation in Collin County.
Of course, most people who live in Collin County work in other counties. In addition, we have had some truely horrendous scandals in our judicial system and this system continues to employ a code of silence which protects unethical behavior. No honest person would knowingly stand for such behavior, certainly no democracy would. This has been well documented by the Collin County Observer. We continue to have CPS out of control so that good parents are losing their children. Collin County can't afford any more attention focused on its judiciary. By the way, most of the political leaders in Collin County have turned a blind eye to this misbehavior.
There has been plenty of fault to go around in Collin County. This has been the knife in the back of our form of government. As a Republican, I am ashamed of this behavior and I know the only way I can reform the party I care about is to expose the problems.
To the extent Collin County has been prosperous, it has been due to the excellent ethics of its common citizenry which have been successful in spite of our county government, not because of it.
Just a thought...
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