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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: I'll bet Scott Brown wishes he could un-say this (158 comments)

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  •  Here's a quick example. (1+ / 0-)
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    In 2008, there were 1,171,472 individuals that voted. But how many could have voted? Consider this metric about how many potential voters there might be in just Harris County alone. Take the total population, subtract those that are under 18, and because it's Texas, subtract a certain percentage that might be illegal, all before subtracting one final percentage to take out those who can't or won't vote for any reason (criminal  past, refusal to participate, whatever). For Harris County, we'd subtract 28 percent to account for the under 18 population, and because I always try to be strict with such measures, 30 percent to account for potential illegals and another ten percent to account for everyone else that can't or won't participate. So we go from 4,092,459 people to 2,946,571 to 2,357,257 to 2,121,531. That final number is the potential voter pool. Assuming this metric isn't too far off the mark (I say this because it's my own creation as a way to iron out the differences between official estimates, which can go up and down as people are removed and added to the rolls), we had a total turnout of about 55.21 percent. That's pretty low. Bump that up to 65 percent and bump Obama's total in Harris County from 50.45 percent to 55 percent, making Obama's total in this example 758,447. That's an increase of 167,465 votes from the 590,982 he actually received. Added to his actual total of 3,528,633, that would bring up to 3,696,098, or 44.77 percent versus his actual 43.63 percent.

    No, we still didn't win, but we did gain more than a point under a reasonable assumption about his vote total and strict, perhaps too strict, conditions about a potential voter pool. If the voter pool was bigger (and I suspect it could easily be) and he did better, say getting up to 60 percent of the vote, we'd get an even bigger effect--and we are still only talking about one county!


    •  You're asking for a 10% increase in turnout? (0+ / 0-)

      I mean that's not an example, its a wish.  

      I'm not saying we can't make numerical calculations to direct us, but that's not even close to reasonable.  Texas has always had one of the worst voter turnouts.  2008 was a high point for Texas in terms of voter turnout in the last few cycles.  In 2008 it was 55.2%, 2010 32.9%, 2006 it was 30.6% and in 2004 it was 53.7%.

      If anything, the strategy should be to target non-presidential years for voter turnout, but moving to 65% is just beyond crazy.  

      •  Why is it so damn crazy? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not asking to go from the low fifties to the high eighties. While it was just an example, it appears to be well within the range of reasonable figures. And while there's always a chance there's just something about the state that makes it so unmotivated, let's remember that unless I am forgetting something, it hasn't been competitive at the presidential level in decades. The mere fact that at least one side would be actively working the state, let alone both sides, is bound to increase turn out. There are plenty of counties where turn out increases by a significant degree, although some of it is kind of skewed because the base is low.

        By the way, let's remember that my assumptions were kind of strict. It's entirely possible that far less than 30 percent of the population in Harris County is illegal, if not likely, and if we adjust the numbers to reflect that, the voting pool becomes bigger, requiring a smaller percentage increase to get to an absolute figure. Let me also say I am talking about a specific county, not the state as a whole, although targeting the biggest counties would certainly push up.

        •  Key word here (1+ / 0-)
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          it appears to be well within the range of reasonable figures. rdw never accused you of saying that voter turnout would be in the eighties, so that is a straw man argument. Honestly, I don't find an argument convincing just because you take 5-10% modifications and assume that they are possible simply because they look marginal. For instance, I could argue that Mississippi is competitive because it's totally reasonable to assume he could get 20% of the white vote instead of 10%, right? But there is very little evidence that any Democrat not named Jim Hood has actually gotten that much of the white vote recently, and certainly not any Democrat who is as far to the left of Mississippi as Obama is.

          Sorry, dude, but I think you need to go another route with this.

          21, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

          by sapelcovits on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 11:05:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  10% is like 1.5 million voters statewide (1+ / 0-)
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          That is crazy.  Sorry, it just is.  

          Also, competitiveness does not always make a strong correlation with voter turnout.  Nevada in 2008 only saw like a 3% turnout increase over 2004, even though it was infinitely more competitive and more in-focus for multiple important races than.

          So I'd say being heavily competed can give a max of 3%.  I don't know how you get to 10% from there, even in just focusing on smaller areas like Harris county.

    •  It's hard to describe unless you're a native (2+ / 0-)
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      rdw72777, MichaelNY

      I am from Texas.  Houston alone covers over 600 sq miles.  It takes a good hour to hour and a half to drive it all the way across, on the freeway, going 65, with no traffic.  All around Houston, is suburban towns that are as large as other cities nationwide...Conroe, Pasadena, Katy, Sugar Land, Tomball, Klein Etc.   Door to door GOTV is beyond difficult and expensive.

      Naturally, you are also dealing with the fact that you will not find a booming liberal population anywhere unless you are in Austin, downtown Houston or Dallas or literally on a college campus.  The majority of Democrats that Texas has are conservative to moderate Dems, at best.  Minorities in Texas cannot always be counted on to be left either.  The Hispanics are Catholic and conservative a lot of the time and African Americans can also lean right.  My parents both are Republicans, getting more and more conservative as the years progress....although they have now moved to Florida.  They were also not the only Black conservatives on the block.

      Any effort that would be worthwhile in Texas, would take a tremendous amount of money and the gamble would be great when the money is needed in other places that have a far better outlook IMO  

      •  There are certainly worthier targets, but (0+ / 0-)

        I still think a reasonable case can be made for trying to win Texas.

        And while I don't live there, I think I understand what you are saying. Let me be clear, though, that we aren't talking about winning the state with 60 percent of the vote. We've talking about winning it with, say, 53 percent or so.

        •  Truly I think even 53% as a remote chance (1+ / 0-)
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          and bordering on this and other very near future cycles, that it.  Texas is gone to us at this time and we should set our eyes on target much more obtainable.  

           A dollar wasted on a state, such as Texas, that is most certainly going to be red in November of 2012 is a dollar that could have been spent on a state that is purple, light blue or even pink.  Texas will not be a blue state, not in 2012.  

          Although I now live in NV, I had hoped with all in me that Bill White would have won.  I think he could have been some kind of a turning point for Texas.  Even then, as much as I wanted it, I was almost certain it wasn't to be.

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