Early voting numbers favor one party

HOUSTON When we crunched the latest early voting numbers, we find Democratic areas turning out huge numbers of early voters, especially inside the Loop and inside the city of Houston. The numbers are up for everyone.

The record setting early voting wave across the country seems to favor Democrats. A CNN analysis shows that in the 10 states that report party affiliation for early voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans, conventional wisdom being Democrats are more excited this year.

We turned to our political consultant, Dr. Richard Murray.

"Democrats are off to a strong election start," he said. "Republicans need to pick up the pace to close the gap."

No one knows who's really voting, so it's not a perfect analysis. But when we compared the first nine days of the 2004 early vote to the early vote so far this year here, it paints a slightly better picture for Harris County Democrats.

Every early voting site except one has seen more voters, but six districts have seen more than twice the number of voters and four of them are traditionally Democrat areas.

"Republicans need to get their voters out here in these last days of voting," said Dr. Murray.

Despite the huge numbers -- and they are unprecedented -- we won't know what this all means until election day, when we find out if the early vote really was a new record of if it just shifted from election day.

Sandra Ervin is just one of the voters we found Wednesday who remembers the hugely long lines last time.

"Oh no, no, no, no," she told us. "Not this time."

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are traditionally the biggest days for early voters, so both sides still have an opportunity to get people out to the polls early.

The Republican party chairman tells me he is not worried about the turnout nor the excitement level. He tells me his party's analysis shows the Republicans winning.

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