Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Texas GOP Senate Runoff Has 2nd Lowest Decline in Turnout from Primary Since 1950

Bookmark and Share

Only the 1972 Democratic runoff between former Senator Ralph Yarborough and Barefoot Sanders had a smaller drop in turnout of the 11 such U.S. Senate runoffs conducted since 1950

texasseal10.pngTea Party-backed Texas U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz pulled off one of the more remarkable victories of the 2012 electoral season Tuesday night by defeating Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst by 13.6 points in the Lone Star State's runoff contest.

Despite holding the runoff election nine weeks after the primary, a gap that is twice as long as the statewide average, Republican voters turned out in big numbers on Tuesday.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that out of the 11 runoff elections for the U.S. Senate that have been conducted in Texas since 1950, only one saw a smaller decline in turnout from the primary than the Cruz vs. Dewhurst matchup.

In every cycle in which either party has faced a runoff in a U.S. Senate contest since the beginning of direct elections nearly a century ago, there has always been a drop in turnout from the primary election.

The smallest decline took place in 1972, when former three-term Democratic U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough took on Barefoot Sanders.

Yarborough - who lost his seat in 1970 after getting defeated in the primary by Lloyd Bensten - had a plurality victory in the 1972 primary with 49.99 percent of the vote while Sanders tallied 38.1 percent in a distant second.

Yarborough missed winning a majority by just 536 votes out of 2,065,748 cast.

And it cost him the race.

In the subsequent runoff, Sanders defeated Yarborough by 4.1 points out of 1,936,631 votes.

That marked a drop of 129,117 votes, or just 6.3 percent from the primary - which still remains a record in Texas U.S. Senate runoff history.

In the 2012 primary, Dewhurst failed to win a majority of the vote in a race that saw 1,406,648 voters cast their ballots.

On Tuesday, 1,111,124 Texans turned out to vote in the GOP runoff, for a decline of just 21.0 percent from the May primary.

That is a smaller decline than the Democratic runoffs of 1984 (-33.0 percent), 1994 (-27.3 percent), 1996 (-45.9 percent), 2000 (-60.3 percent), 2002 (-35.0 percent), 2006 (-58.6 percent), and 2012 (-52.6 percent) and the GOP runoffs of 1964 (-44.0 percent) and 1988 (-75.4 percent).

The average drop in turnout during the modern era has been over 40 percent.

During the early 20th Century, when Texas was basically a one-party state and the run-off winner essentially determined the general election victor, the drop in turnout in the five runoff Democratic contests averaged -18.1 percent.

Cruz now becomes the ninth winner of a Texas U.S. Senate run-off who placed second in the primary election.

On the Democratic side, Paul Sadler easily defeated Grady Yarbrough by 26.2 points with turnout down approximately 50 percent from the primary in late May.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Bachmann July Haul Shy of Q3 2010 Pace
Next post: Swing States, Battleground States, or Purple States?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting