What Happened in the TX-32 Congressional Election? (2018)

Please note: The analysis below is based on an initial estimate of the 2018 electorate. Catalist released an updated analysis of the 2018 electorate in May 2019.


February 8, 2019

Author: Zachery Crowell, Analyst

  1. The composition of the 2018 electorate leaned more Democratic than 2016 in terms of age and racial diversity.
  2. Relative to Clinton, Allred substantially improved his vote margin among key middle partisan groups in this predominantly suburban district.
  3. Additionally, Allred won over many of the ticket-splitters who, in previous years, had likely voted for Sessions and a Democrat at the top of the ticket.
  4. Finally, Allred did extremely well among early voters who were much younger and racially diverse than in past elections.

Additionally, the share of the electorate made up by people of color in this district is all but certain to continue to increase given trends in the citizen voting age population. As Texans born after 1970 make up a larger share of the electorate, this is a district that is in particular likely to lean increasingly Democratic. Particularly, age is a strong predictor of recent Democratic vote preference in TX-32. This pattern holds when looking at either age brackets or birth years.


Allred also performed very well among Democratic-leaning groups (e.g. voters of color) who had split their tickets and supported Sessions in previous elections. Part of Allred’s success in 2018 is certainly due to the fact that, while Sessions was a multi-decade incumbent who for example won 31% of African American voters in 2014, Allred was able to bring many of those voters back into the Democratic camp.


During October, many news stories were written about the long lines at Texan early vote locations. We could tell from the above comparisons that interest in early voting from both habitual and less frequent midterm voters was not only up relative to past trends, but disproportionately increased among Democrats. Such rich early vote data made it possible to predict that Allred was on track to do well in TX-32.