Texas on the Horizon

Texas has been a key to the recent Republican coalitions, with the state giving its large share of electoral votes to the GOP presidential nominee in every election dating back to 1980. But according to the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten, Democrats are beginning to look forward to the possibility that Texas will turn blue -- or at least purple -- in the coming years.

Looking through the numbers from Tuesday, it becomes clear that there is reason to hope. Overall, Barack Obama received about 25 percent more votes in Texas this year than John Kerry did four years ago while John McCain received about 1.5 percent fewer votes than George W. Bush did in 2004. No doubt this is at least partially a result of the fact that unlike the last two presidential elections, there isn't a Texan heading the GOP ticket this fall. Yet these relative gains came at a time when the Democrats did not run an active media effort in the state, only a grassroots effort without the same type of attention that went towards an Ohio, an Indiana or even a Montana. Were the Democrats to devote the type of resources to Texas that they did to try to swing a traditionally red state like North Carolina, there's little doubt in my mind that the gains from 2004 to 2008 could be built upon.

In the end, Obama still lost Texas by about a million votes, and about 11 percentage points. However, even going beyond the gains in votes Obama made relative to Kerry, exit polling indicates that the success was not limited to just the topline results. In 2004, Republicans made up 43 percent of the electorate in Texas, compared with the 32 percent of the state electorate self-identifying as Democratic. In 2006, that split was 40 percent Republican to 31 percent Democratic. Yet this year the difference was just a point, with Republicans making up 34 percent of the electorate and Democrats making up 33 percent of the electorate. If that shift holds and the Democrats can begin to make some inroads among those voters previously identifying as Republican but now calling themselves Independents (McCain won 63 percent of Texas' indies, compared with just 44 percent nationwide), then Texas could definitely be on the map for the Democrats in the coming years.

Throw on top of all of this the major demographic changes in the state, which Wallsten does a good job of reporting on in his piece, and you can see why some Democrats are getting excited about their future in the Lone Star state. And considering that Texas could gain as many as four electoral votes between now and the 2012 election, a Democratic resurgence in the state couldn't come at a better time.

Tags: texas (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: Texas on the Horizon
actually there has been a prominant texan on every presidential ballot since 1980
1980 Bush sr VP
1984 Bush sr VP
1988 Bush sr Prez
1992 Bush Sr Ross Perot Prez
1996 Ross perot Prez (not THAT prominant, but 6% is enough for matching funds 4 years later)
2000 Bush JR Prez
2004 Bush JR Prez
by Doug Tuttle 2008-11-10 08:12AM | 0 recs
I Blogged about this Earlier

http://www.swingstateproject.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=3894

I provided a full round up of what happened in Texas, up and down the ballot. The biggest thing that you forgot, Jonathan, is Democrats are now 1-2 seats from taking control of the State House. As far as state legislatures are concerned, this should be the #1 priority heading into 2010 with only Michigan State Senate coming close to being as important.

A few other quick notes from my diary:
-Harris county (Houston) elected its first county wide dems since 1994
-Tarrant County (Fort Worth) is equal to the state as a whole by political margins
-Dallas is now solid Dem
-Counties north of Austin are seeing spill off and are moving our way (Bell and Williamson)
-Fort Bend County is getting Democratic spill off from Houston, including having elected 2004 Dean Dozen candidate Richard Morrison as County Commissioner Place 1.

by Trowaman 2008-11-10 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: I Blogged about this

Greater Austin -- we also did well in the suburban, recently rural counties south and east of Austin, with Obama taking 48% of Hayes (San Marcos/Texas State), 47% of Caldwell, and 45% of Bastrop.

The Border needs general election turnout to surpass primary turnout, but the share was in our favor, 66% in El Paso, 69% in Hidalgo in the Lower Valley, 72% in Webb (Laredo), and our favorite, 78% in MAVERICK (Eagle Pass).

Obama will surely do better in Deep East Texas next time. He's black, you know, and that was a problem for some voters in the former Confederacy. But the Piney Woods, like the rest of the South, will get over it by 2012, or by 2009 from the current indications.

The closest states that we didn't win this time were Missouri (TBD) 50%, Montana 47%, Georgia 47%, North and South Dakota, South Carolina, and Arizona all at 45%, and Texas 44%.

In 2012 Texas will have the largest number of potential pickups of House seats, because of the added seats and redistricting stirring the big pot. So I suspect we'll get much more attention from the campaign to re-elect.

by Woody 2008-11-10 05:07PM | 0 recs
Age is a factor

Among Texans over 60, 68% are white and 20% are Latino
Among Texans 40-59, 56% are white and 28% are Latino
Among Texans under 40, 41% are white and 42% are Latino

I'm a little skeptical of the exit polls of Texas Latinos as my polling of registered voters consistently showed Obama with a smaller lead in this group, but it was still a significant lead. As the numbers above indicate, the passage of time bodes well for the Democrats. 2012 is probably too soon to count on the electoral votes, but there were enough gains in the Texas Lege in 2008 to make for a more balanced Congressional map in the 2010's.

by IVR Polls 2008-11-10 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Age is a factor


The semiexpectable statewide tipping point to Democratic, provided that means what it does at present, is around 2014 or 2016.  Maybe 2018.  At worst 2020.

An easier way of looking at it is that the national trendline for states with populations that are fairly assimilated and whose young are not migrating elsewhere has a solid slope of around 1% increase in liberal or Democratic voting per year.  This year we got some overshoot from protest votes and conservative blacks voting for Obama, imho, of about 1 million votes nationally.  Which is nice and a change from Republicans benefiting from those, true, but it might take two years or so for that level of split in the electorate to solidify and show up downticket.

You are right that the trend has mostly to do with generational turnover and somewhat with race.  The oldest people still cling to the Nixon Republican conceit of keeping realities in the society at the status prior to 1968 (or maybe 1980), which the young oppose.

by killjoy 2008-11-10 10:17AM | 0 recs
Good News from HoustonTx
I was a Precinct Judge and worked the campaign for the Houston westside this year. It is amazing to see the grassroots at work. Obama did little here except run his Presidential ads but nonetheless the excitement was great. For the first time since I moved to Houston in 1980, I sensed that the Dems are starting to take over Harris County and Houston City offices. Out of 26 Judicial Races this year, the Democrat judges won 22 races. Since I moved here, the Democrats have slowly put an end to the racist based County government. With the election of a group of 10 Criminal Judges and a Democrat Sheriff (Adrian Garcia), the reign of terror on minorities should be over--The deposed Republican District Attorney was an avowed racist--Chuck Rosenthal was a very corrupt Republican who worked with his buddies in the Private Prison industry to send thousands of minority criminals to prison on the lamest of charges--he opposed alternative sentences to the end but now he is gone and faces prison himself.
The Senate District 17 is now in a runoff and Chris Bell the Democrat who got thrown out by Tom Delay's redistricting about 4 years ago is favored. We are turning Texas Blue (at least we are in the heavily populated areas of Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. The country folks are still hanging out in the 1950's but who cares.
by hddun2008 2008-11-10 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

Dems gained seats in the State House. If provisional ballots go our way in Irvice, it will be a 75-75 split.

by RandyMI 2008-11-10 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

If the changes in House representation described in the attached USA article were already in effect, Obama's margin would have shrunk by 14 electoral votes, to 358-180.  Obama carried all but two of the states that will lose at least one seat.

Any Democratis presidential candidate will have problems in Utah and South Carolina, but Arizona and Georgia should be competitive in 2012.

by KTinOhio 2008-11-10 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

"Republicans can no longer achieve an electoral college majority with their decades-old strategy of winning whites in the South and conservatives in the heartland. Now, Democrats have a path through the Rocky Mountains and even some states in the old Confederacy."

That is right! No more white skin worship if they want to win on a regular basis!

by Boilermaker 2008-11-10 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

Right wing hate radio will continue to doom Republicans' chances in the Latino community. And since Republicans will never be purged of their Tancredos and Sessenbrenners, Texas is going to keep shifting over to Democrats as white people amble off their mortal coil and Latino children turn 18.

If there is anything in this world that is hard to argue with, it's demographics.

by wengler 2008-11-10 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

Like someone previously stated, the key to turning Texas blue is Harris County (Houston).  Its the third largest county in the United States and has very positive demographic trends for Democrats.  Democrats just swept the county in all but a few high profile seats.  It would have been a clean sweep, however, 4 Republican candidates helped themselves tremendously during the aftermath of hurricane Ike.  Its ironic that the area which created the concept of the "permanent Republican majority" - namely Houston, Texas - just turned blue.

Its still an uphill battle, but if we can somehow turn out the Hispanic vote in South Texas, we could be looking at a CA-TX-NY democratic coalition in the future.  It would be very difficult for Republicans to win a presidential election if we start out with CA-TX-NY in the bag...

by agpc 2008-11-10 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Texas on the Horizon

We will have to do more to show the latino population we support their interests (which shouldn't be difficult to do) and expose Republican anti-hispanic sentiments (likewise).  Individuals identifying as Hispanic voted for obama less than the rest of the nation and only 55% of male Hispanics voted for obama. (granted I realize exit polls aren't always acurate) Our numbers with white youth really depress me but i'm not sure what can be done about that.  Anyways, if we can sercure texan hispanics as an integral part of our coalition, with a lot of work and the passage of time, I see no reason why Texas can't be on the map by 2016.  It could help to have a stronger democratic presence to show that we can make a difference in people's lives and a visible hispanic presence in the Democratic leadership to show that there is a difference they can make with us.

by goodleh 2008-11-10 02:38PM | 0 recs
A Heart-Warming List

I am reprinting from a diary at Daily Kos this very satisfying list of defeated Repubs, even if they are merely a bunch of judges for state district courts.

I LOVE lists of Repubs who have lost their office. So I wanted to share this.

------------------

Dems Flip 3rd Largest County: Harris, TX
by woolie
Wed Nov 05, 2008

District Judges. All 26 districts were R.
Dems flipped 22 of them. Only 4 R incumbents survived.

11th District Judge
Mark Davidson, R: 537,626    48.8%
Mike Miller, D: 563,884            51.2%

55th District Judge
Dion Ramos, D: 558,548            50.7%
Jeff Shadwick, R (I): 542,787    49.3%

61st District Judge
Al Bennett, D: 564,767            51.2%
John Donovan, R (I): 537,650    48.8%

80th District Judge
L. Bradshaw-Hall, R (I):545,462 49.5%
Larry Weiman, D: 555,846    50.5%

125th District Judge
Kyle Carter, D: 568,845            51.7%
John Coselli, R (I): 531,586    48.3%

127th District Judge
R.K. Sandhill, D: 554,882    50.5%
Sharolyn Wood, R (I): 543,959    49.5%

129th District Judge
Grant Dorfman, R (I): 530,479    48.2%
Michael Gomez, D: 569,687    51.8%

133rd District Judge
Lamar McCorkle, R (I): 535,710    48.8%
Jaclanel McFarland, D: 561,954    51.2%

151st District Judge
Caroline E. Baker, R (I):542,352 49.3%
Mark Engelhart, D: 558,168    50.7%

152nd District Judge
Robert Schaffer, D: 561,864    51.1%
Ken Wise, R (I): 537,730    48.9%

164th District Judge
Martha Hill Jamison, R (I):547,785    49.8%
Alexandra Smoots-Hogan, D: 551,249    50.2%

165th District Judge
Josefina Muniz Rendon, D:550,296    50.0%
Elizabeth Ray, R (I): 549,921    50.0%

174th District Judge
Ruben Guerrero, D: 563,144    51.2%
Bill Moore, R (I): 536,553    48.8%

176th District Judge
Brian Rains, R (I): 533,260    48.7%
Shawna L. Reagin, D: 561,772    51.3%

177th District Judge
Devon Anderson, R (I): 533,515    48.7%
Kevin Fine, D: 561,363    51.3%

178th District Judge
Roger Bridgwater, R (I):532,245    48.5%
David Mendoza, D: 565,879    51.5%

179th District Judge
Randy Roll, D: 550,606            50.3%
Mike Wilkinson, R (I): 544,000    49.7%

190th District Judge
Patricia J. Kerrigan, R (I):549,631    50.1%
Andreas Pereira, D: 547,078    49.9%

215th District Judge
Levi J. Benton, R (I): 533,568    48.7%
Steven E. Kirkland, D: 562,135    51.3%

312th District Judge
David Farr, R (I): 535,218    48.7%
Robert Hinojosa, D: 563,818    51.3%

333rd District Judge
Joseph 'Tad' Halbach, R (I): 547,442    50.0%
Goodwille Pierre, D: 547,091    50.0%

334th District Judge
Ashish Mahendru, D: 532,135    48.6%
Sharon McCally, R (I): 563,517    51.4%

337th District Judge
Herb Ritchie, D: 548,943    50.1%
Don Stricklin, R (I): 545,666    49.9%

338th District Judge
Hazel B. Jones, D: 559,429    51.1%
Brock Thomas, R (I): 535,698    48.9%

339th District Judge
Caprice Cosper, R (I): 526,246    48.0%
Maria T. Jackson, D: 569,055    52.0%

351st District Judge
Mark Kent Ellis, R (I): 554,905    50.6%
Mekisha Murray, D: 542,163    49.4%

by Woody 2008-11-10 04:47PM | 0 recs

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