We should have a reading by the end of the day whether turnout will be normal or exceptional. Some things to look for:
1. Hispanic turnout: Check the big South Texas counties of El Paso, Webb, Hidalgo, and Cameron. Low turnouts will indicate that Obama has not broken through with Hispanic voters.
2. The Ike factor. Reduced turnout in Harris County would be bad news for the Democrats, a sign that some of their voters have not yet been able to return to their homes.
3. The suburban vote. This has been the core of Republican strength in Texas. Any dropoff would signal that McCain has not been able to motivate the Republican base.
County turnout is macro; precinct turnout is micro. But it is the latter that gives the better reading of what is actually happening. You can bet that the numbers-crunchers will be working late into the night on Monday (and throughout early voting) to determine how traditional R and D strongholds are voting.
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