The “blue wave” that Gov. Greg Abbott is urging conservatives to be so afraid of isn’t made up of many young voters. Since early primary voting began last week, just 10.6 percent of Dallas County’s rough total of 53,000 early votes came from someone born in 1980 or later. When you separate it by political party, 13.7 percent of Democratic early voters and 5.1 percent of Republican early voters are millennials.
The data comes from Austin-based analyst and consultant Derek Ryan, who uses information from the Secretary of State to inform his daily newsletters during the early voting period. He got curious about the ages of the voters and began parsing the data further, so here we are. Texas Monthly’s R.G. Ratcliffe first broke down the statewide numbers, and they aren’t any better than we’re seeing here: Early ballots for Texans born after 1980 make up 10.8 percent of the total. Statewide, 17 percent of the Democratic vote comes from young voters while Republicans have just 7 percent.
In Dallas County through Wednesday, a total of 52,097 people had cast votes—34,605 voted in the Democratic primary while 17,492 voted in the Republican primary. Compared to 2016, a presidential primary, that’s just about 10,000 more Democratic voters, an increase of about 40 percent. Republicans are trailing their eight-day totals locally by about 8,000. Jump back to the last mid-term election, in 2014, and more Democrats in Dallas County have voted through eight days than they did in that entire early voting period. In 2014, when the big show in the Republican primary was the race between Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, 19,792 early votes were cast through eight days—about 2,000 more than this year.
We’re definitely seeing more interest from Democrats now that Trump’s in office and so many races are contested—they’re just, far and away, older than 38. According to Ryan, the average age of all early voters is 62. For Democrats, that’s 59. Republicans are 68.