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Texas best in country for new voter turnout, could affect tight races

It's no secret Texas is approaching record voter turnout numbers this early voting period. This is particularly true with first time voters. Turnout for this group is the best in the country, with more than 200,000 first-timers voting, according to research and data company TargetSmart. (CBS Austin)

It's no secret Texas is approaching record voter turnout numbers this early voting period. This is particularly true with first time voters.

Turnout for this group is the best in the country, with more than 200,000 first-timers voting, according to research and data company TargetSmart.

This is more than twice as many as the next best state, California, which has less than 90,000 first time voters participating so far.

Joshua Blank, the manager of polling and research with The Texas Politics Project, says this could bode well for Democrats.

"What's clear at this point is that the electorate is going to be much larger than what we usually see. What that means is we're not going to see an electorate that looks like what it normally looks like. The truth is, that is almost certain to benefit democrats," Blank said.

Blank says it's still too early to tell if this will be enough to flip historically Republican parts of the state.

But he also says this may affect the accuracy of polls, since a lot of the polls rely on past voter behavior. "If the Texas electorate looks completely different, the polls will be wrong," Blank said.

This is why some experts believe you're seeing Republicans stump for votes more than they have in previous years, like Governor Greg Abbott did Tuesday in historically-red Williamson County, where he said, "This is a true purple county."

Because of all of these changes in voter turnout, Blank says we will have to wait to get an accurate picture in many races. "The reality is, the only poll that matters, is the vote tally on Election Day," Blank said.

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