Friday, July 19, 2019

Texas by the Numbers

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—"
Luke 14:28

If you want to understand the data behind the current state of play in Texas, then this episode of the Luke Macias show is a must listen.  Luke interviews Derek Ryan, of Ryan Data and Research, a former RPT data analyst who is widely respected across the political spectrum.  We'll post the interview and our notes below.

Before we do, however, we need to point something out: Derek Ryan's data backs up three points we've been making for awhile.

  1. Glenn Hegar as a proxy for generic Republican vote -- Following the 2018 election, we calculated the "Trump effect" by comparing Glenn Hegar's 2018 result to his 2014 result.  We came up with a five point shift to the Democrats.  Ryan's, meanwhile, did a detailed statistical analysis that shows a four point shift to the Democrats.  Obviously, his analysis is far more complete than ours, but ours was a lot less work.  Both point to a mid-single digit sized shift.
  2. Underperformance in Urban Areas has statewide consequences -- Apparently, there are over 500,000 Republican Primary voters who didn't vote in the 2018 general election.  When asked about the geographic distribution of these voters, Ryan specifically mentioned Travis, Bexar, Dallas, and Harris counties.  It's almost like we wrote about that last week, or something....
  3. The utter, total, and complete incompetence of the Hays County GOP -- Ryan tells a story that's absolutely bonkers.

    According to Ryan, now state representative Erin Zweiner once allegedly wrote a blog post where she claimed responsibility for low-level acts of ecoterrorism in Western Travis County.  Furthermore, apparently, Ryan discovered this well before last year's election.  Ryan uses this as an example of how national events overwhelmed down ballot races, but we have a different hypothesis.

    What if the Hays GOP is incompetent?!?
    This author consumes a large amount of political news.  Furthermore, as a blogger, we're always on the lookout for local stories that are undercovered.  Yet the first time we hear this story is on a podcast almost a year after the election.

    We don't necessarily cover everything he hear.  However, between formal and informal sources, we usually have a good idea about major activity.  Yet this (alleged) factoid slipped not only this author's radar, but local activists' as well.

    That is a failure across all levels of the party.

    Of course, we specifically highlighted the Hays GOP's failures in our analysis of the 2018 debacle.
You can hear the full podcast below:


  • Serious discussion of political data begins at the 10 minute mark.
  • Generic R votes has gone down by approximately four points under Trump.
  • Suburbs are "changing significantly."
    • Collin - 7.7% shift to D's
    • Denton - 6.6%
    • WillCo - 5.7%
  • 2018 had higher under 20 turnout than 2016.
  • In 2018, lots of people voted "that we didn't already know."
  • 548,000 Republican primary voters didn't vote in November.
  • "2018 was kind of a perfect storm for the Democrats."
  • Voter registration ahead of 2016 pace.
  • 17 state rep district GOP < 55% in 2018.
    • D's are registering like crazy in those areas.

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