On Monday, early voting began in Texas along with seven other states, including Washington, DC. No one is expecting any surprise upsets in statewide races in the Lone Star State, but voters in two important battleground states, Colorado and Wisconsin, can also head to the polls for the first time in the 2012 general elections.
Texas is far from a battleground state. It is decidedly Republican and will be for many elections to come. It may be close to a decade before the state even has a chance of becoming more of a swing state. While Texas is a GOP stronghold, there is a rapidly growing Hispanic and Latino population. Voters in this segment of the population tend to vote for candidates in the Democratic Party.
There is not a clear way of calculating the percentage of the voting age population in Texas that identifies as independent voters because voters do not have to declare party affiliation, or lack thereof, when they register to vote. Most people that participate in the state’s primaries pick either the Republican or the Democratic ticket because there aren’t very many additional options.
Mitt Romney will likely win the majority vote in Texas and its thirty-eight electoral votes. The last time a Democrat won a statewide race in Texas was in 1994 and it is highly unlikely any of the statewide races will go blue on November 6. Early voting in Texas continues from October 22 to Friday, November 2. Over thirteen million people are registered to vote in the state.
In-person early voting also began in Colorado and Wisconsin on Monday, which are two states political pundits and analysts will be monitoring closely on election night. Both are considered to be key swing states in the 2012 presidential election and both are currently declared to be “toss ups.” Either state could be the one that gets Mitt Romney or Barack Obama over the 270 threshold.
According to Real Clear Politics, which averages major polling data in each state, Romney is up on Obama by 0.2 percentage points in Colorado and Obama is up in Wisconsin by 2.8 percentage points. Neither candidate has a clear advantage in individual polls in Wisconsin or Colorado. It is a very close race, the winner of which could be declared after election night.
In total, there are fourteen states that will begin in-person early voting this week. Early voting in Florida, another important battleground state, begins Saturday.