The general sense up to now is that early voting advantages certain candidates in a dynamic primary race, usually the presumptive front runner who may be losing support to an insurgent. That’s how I think it may have functioned for Guiliani in Florida (before he dropped out of course).
Any regular reader of this blog knows the routine about early voters: they tend to be older, wealthier, and more partisan. And these are the same voters who have gone for Hillary Clinton up to this point.
So you’d think early voting would help her in Texas. But I think the dynamics of the race are actually hurting Clinton.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, June Kronholz noted that the county with the highest proportion of early votes was Hidalgo County–but this is also an area with few delegates. The areas where early voting is lowest are precisely the areas where Obama is picking up support.
You can see the figures clearly at the national level in yesterday’s NY Times poll. Younger, more urban, less partisan voters are moving strongly toward Obama. These are the same voters who live in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and the other Democratic strongholds. The same areas where votes have not yet been cast and that, due to the delegate rules in Texas, have the lion’s share of delegates.
The Clinton campaign must be working feverishly to get out the early vote, because at this point, the precinct place is looking like tough sledding.