Paul Burka of Texas Monthly is not, or at least has not been, an Obama fan. That makes his take on early voting in Texas that much more interesting. He reports on the tidal wave of early voting, and concludes:
Barack Obama’s personality and his message are dominating politics nationwide. The last candidate to stir this kind of feeling was Ronald Reagan in 1980 and before him Bobby Kennedy in 1968. Veteran political observers like me can roll our eyes over someone running for president on a platform of “Hope” and “Change,” but nothing is so powerful as an idea, even a vague one, whose time has come. Obama is riding the whirlwind, and if he can make the moment last until November, it is going to sweep out the Republicans, even in Texas.
These numbers are so overwhelming, and the fifteen counties have such a large fraction of the state’s registered voters — 7,815,906 of 12,607,466, or 62% — that what happens in other 239 counties is unlikely to alter the trend. These numbers have made me a believer. Rick Noriega could defeat John Cornyn. The Democrats can win a majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The consummate irony is that George W. Bush, who made Texas a Republican state on his way in to the presidency, may make it a Democratic state on his way out.
Rasmussen Reports shows HRC still with a one-point lead in Texas. But it also reports that 29% (!) of the people likely to vote in the primary have already done so, and that Obama is winning that group “handily.” Recall that HRC won in California entirely on the basis of early voting; among those who voted on Election Day, Obama probably had a small edge. If Obama is winning the early voters an tied overall with a week to go, there’s good reason for confidence.