I am 100% indebted to a pair of excellent Houston Chronicle stories that dig deep into the numbers in the Texas primary. I have criticized the state’s papers for their lack of coverage of Texas politics, but these stories are really enlightening. I recommend following the links to the complete stories. In the meantime, I do want to highlight some of the information.

The first story, by Alan Bernstein, is about Harris County races, including the county judge’s race, about which I posted earlier today. It also has the results of a Zogby poll conducted for the Chronicle that confirms what the early vote pattern suggests: Democrats have caught up with Republicans in Harris County.

Plan to support a Democrat for county leadership offices: 42%
Plan to support a Republican for county leadership offices: 40%

Plan to support Democrats in local judicial races: 41%
Plan to support Republicans in local judicial races: 37%

Party identification:
Democrats 46%
Republicans 38%
Independents 16%

Since the margin of error of the poll was 4.1%, the results are a statistical dead heat, but the party identification “breaks the tie.”

The Chronicle Web site also has an explanation of the methodology of the poll and links to the raw numbers. The paper showed a lot of initiative in commissioning a poll and providing readers with substantial details.

The other story, by R. G. Ratcliffe and Peggy Fikac, has some good numbers-crunching about primary voters and the Democratic presidential race. Leland Beatty of Austin, whom the authors describe as a “Democratic demographer,” found that 65% of the early voting turnout in Houston was accounted for by people who had not cast a vote in the past three Democratic primaries. And 8.2% had voted previously in the Republican primary. Good news for Clinton: 69% of the early voters in the Democratic primary were older than 40, and 41% of the ballots were cast by older women, who are regarded as a pro-Clinton demographic group.

Good stuff. Thanks to the Chronicle.