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Study Finds Almost 3 out of 5 Texas Voters Cast Straight Ticket Ballots

People voted all Republican or all Democratic at the highest rate of any gubernatorial election in twelve years, according to a study by Austin Community College's Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS).

Texas is one several states that allows people to check one box for a political party, which prompts the electronic voting machine to fill in the "X" automatically for every race on the ballot.  The CPPPS study showed almost 58 percent chose that option in the most recent election.

Here's their comparison of the percentage of Texas voters who cast straight ticket ballots over the last four gubernatorial elections.

  • 2010: 57.7 percent
  • 2006: 45 percent
  • 2002: 49.6 percent
  • 1998: 47.6 percent

CPPPS director Peck Young said straight ticket voting is not an indication that a voter is somehow less informed or less engaged.

"My experience, frankly, as a political professional for 40 years showed me that straight ticket voters, in many cases, are some of the best informed voters," Young told KUT News. "What you have is people who chose a brand. They know what parties stand for. They know what candidates tend to stand for. And they prefer a philosophy that they are convinced one party stands for, and they believe the candidates of that party are going to follow that philosophy. And so they vote for a philosophy."

Young says CPPPS plans to release a more detailed analysis in the coming weeks.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.