Voter registrations for Texas residents identified as likely Democratic voters are surging. (Voters don’t identify party affiliation when registering in the state, meaning extra analysis is required.)
One recent development that obviously seems well-positioned to drive a surge in interest in voting is the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In Texas, with Republicans in power, abortion rights are restricted and remain under threat no matter the exact trajectory of whatever happens next in the numerous legal fights over the issue. Overturning Roe left handling abortion largely to state officials, and Republicans in states nationwide metaphorically jumped at the opportunity to oversee the implementation of dramatic new restrictions on abortion. In addition, President Joe Biden recently outlined how adding to the Democratic majority in the Senate could provide the party the larger majority needed for making changes to the chamber’s suffocating filibuster rules that would make enacting certain progress — like protecting abortion — on a simple majority basis a possibility.
“According to TargetSmart, which analyzed about 80,000 new voters added through the end of July, Democrats now have a 10-percentage point advantage, making up 42 percent to Republicans’ 32 percent,” the Houston Chronicle summarized last week. Identified Republican voters led by about five percent in analyses from prior to Roe‘s demise. Younger voters in Texas who were identified as likely Democratic voters are also responsible for larger shares of new registrations than before the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Among voters specifically under the age of 25, analyses now put Democrats’ share at 47 percent, which dramatically adds to the 34 percent share from before the court decision to undo Roe. Before the ruling, Republicans were at 30 percent, and the party remains at that level among younger Texans newly registering now.
The Chronicle says TargetSmart uses data including info from past primaries and consumer demographic data in examining new voter registrations for the likely partisan lean. Activists and groups like MOVE Texas are working on pushing for young voters’ participation in the political process, and to that end, the organization will hold about a dozen events across college campuses for National Voter Registration Day on September 20. In Texas, one of the most high-profile races on the ballot this year pits Republican Governor Greg Abbott against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Polling generally puts Abbott in the lead by single digits.