Early voters line up at a San Antonio polling site.
Early voting by Texans under the age of 30 has jumped 477 percent over 2014, a good sign for senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke and other Democrats competing in the Nov. 6 midterms.
Almost 332,000 Texans between the ages of 18 and 29 cast ballots in early voting, which extends through Friday, according to figures from data company Target Smart
. What's more, 214,000 of the state's early voters were casting ballots for the first time.
Target Smart's data also shows turnouts by African-American and Hispanic voters – traditionally strong Democratic constituencies – more than doubled from the 2014 midterms.
The numbers seem to bolster O'Rourke's frequent claim
that polls showing Republican incumbent Ted Cruz with a single-digit lead may undercount the support of young and Hispanic voters — some of whom are voting for the first time.
Even so, O'Rourke faces an uphill battle. Texas has not elected a Democrat to statewide office in more than two decades, and political watchers caution that despite changing demographics, Texas still may not be purple enough to hand him a win.
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