Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > 2016 Texas election cycle…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

2016 Texas election cycle marked by limited advertising but record voter registration

There are just 20 days left until the Nov. 8 general election – still plenty of time for some interesting developments in this atypical election year.

To paraphrase the great Charles Dickens, it has been a tale of two numbers this year in Texas.

On the one hand, record voter registration.

More than 15 million Texans are now registered to vote in the November general election.

That is due, in no small part, to broadcasters’ service to the community.

Our efforts to inform the public about the offices and individuals up for election, the registration process and the deadline to do so has been a key motivator in getting citizens registered.

It would be gratifying if the broadcast industry can inspire and motivate a record turnout at the polls in November.

It may shock some to know that Texas placed in the bottom five states in voter turnout in this year’s primary elections.

Slightly more than 30 percent of the state’s registered voters showing up to cast ballots in March.

And that number is despite the fact that Texas was still very much in play when the primary was held, meaning no candidate in either party had secured the nomination at that point.

Texas must do better in turning out its voters and it does help that 2016 is a presidential election year, which always brings a higher turnout.

But broadcasters must continue to provide our audiences with solid, fair and reliable coverage of the candidates, the issues and the need to show up at the polls.

Is the increase in voter registration enough to turn Texas “purple” or even “blue”?

Most Texas political watchers think not, but some are cautioning that the presidential contest is a lot closer in the Texas than it has been in many years.

Within the past week, three separate polls by WFAA-TV, the University of Houston and the Washington Post placed the Trump-Clinton contest in Texas within the statistical margin of error of four or less points depending on which poll.

Stations wanting to delve into some excellent historical analysis on why a “blue” November is not likely should check out veteran Texas political writer Ross Ramsey’s article from earlier this week.

Ramsey notes the WFAA poll was in the field after embarrassing Trump recordings became public and it might just be transitory.

History, Ramsey points out, is on the Republicans’ side.

No Democratic presidential candidate in Texas has garnered more than 45 percent of the state’s vote since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976.

That being said, the Clinton camp was motivated this week to place a TV ad buy in the top four Texas markets.

Clinton is touting the fact that the state’s leading Republican-leaning newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, has endorsed her.

It is News-worthy, pardon the pun, since that media outlet hasn’t endorsed a Democrat in a presidential election since the beginning of World War II.  

Some political watchers say it is an effort by the Clinton campaign to help down the ballot races in Texas.

Regardless of the Clinton advertising buy, however, some down the ballot offices will change parties as a result of election voting trends in recent years.

Which brings us to the other hand mentioned earlier.

With the exception of a handful of races, it has been a disappointing year for political ad sales in Texas.

Not much has been spent here by any of the presidential campaigns and only one statewide or congressional seat has seen serious spending – CD 23.

It’s the lone competitive Texas congressional seat, running from San Antonio’s west side to the eastern edge of El Paso.

The San Antonio Express News reported this week that $10 million has been spent in advertising in the race, much of it coming from out of state third party advocacy groups.

That would make it one of the most expensive congressional contests in Texas history.

Texas’ lack of competitive political districts is the result of redistricting.

The redistricting process happens after the results of the federal census are released.

Texas’ political districts are drawn tightly, typically to favor one party, be it R or D.

Just a handful are closely balanced and CD 23 is one of these.

During presidential election years it and other “balanced” seats tend to go “D” because of increased voter turnout.

They revert to “R” in non-presidential election years.

As a result, the Texas congressional delegation will see little or no change this election year.

The Texas Senate will see no change as its lone competitive district is not up for election till 2018.

Texas Democrats will likely pick up five seats in the Texas House, possibly more.

And that’s about as typical as it will get in this, at least nationally, atypical election year.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News