Do-it-Yourself analysis of the 2010 results

Texas governors race by counties-2010The Texas Tribune has produced two really nice features that let you do your own analysis of the 2010 election.

Using one set of maps, you can see which counties Perry carried and which counties White carried, where each candidate did best, or look at voter turnout by county. I could tell you what I thought of these results, but that would undermine the invitation to judge for yourself.

Linked to their story, “Cost Per Vote Varies by Race,” the Texas Tribune provides a data base that brings together vote counts with spending. You can see who spent the most per vote (Carol Kent spending $64.06 per vote in her losing attempt to hold House district 102) and who spent the least (Cheryl Johnson who spent less than a penny per vote in holding onto her seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals).

Of course, the overall comparisons aren’t always fair. (Sorry Justice Johnson, I suspect you rode the Republican wave and that the $1,400 you spent didn’t single-handedly charm 3.8 million Texans into voting for you.)  That’s okay because the Texas Tribune’s online tool lets you sort out winners and losers or Democrats from Republicans. My favorites were Hector Uribe (7¢ a vote) and Jerry Patterson (who spent a whopping 36¢ a vote) who squared off the race for Land Commissioner. Not only did these two guys run the most civil race in the state, they did so without squandering a tons of donors’ dollars. True, Patterson spent about a million bucks–but that’s not too bad for a state-wide race in Texas. After all, Rick Perry spent about $40 and Bill White spent almost $25 million and I don’t think Texans came away actually liking either one of those guys more.

The Texas Tribune is doing what digital media should be: giving readers tools to understand politics. And, they’re doing a great job. So, here’s a thought: Instead of giving the candidate of your choice hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on ads that are likely to leave you feeling ashamed to have helped them, become a member of Texas Tribune and let the Tribune provide Texans with kinds of news and information that they need to make their own informed decision.

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