We knew there is a huge enthusiasm gap out there benefiting Republicans. We had evidence from primaries that showed larger GOP turnouts than usual. I have posted twice on this subject. First in May and then in August. But now we have a comprehensive, independent analysis of all the primaries to date from American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate and it's a doozy!
GOP Nationwide Primary Vote Exceeds Democrats for First Time Since '30Charts with full details on each state are available here. This should be a vital resource to campaign planning in the weeks ahead.
September 7, 2010
In another sign that the Democratic Party is in deep trouble in the 2010 mid-term elections, the average Republican vote for statewide offices (U.S. Senator and Governor) in the primaries held through August 28 exceeded the Democratic vote, the first time this has happened in mid-term primaries since 1930, according to Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
Republican turnout in their statewide primaries exceeded Democratic turnout in theirs by more than 4 million votes. The average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in Democratic primaries was the lowest ever. The average percentage of citizens who voted in the GOP statewide primaries was the highest since 1970.
These were among the highlights of a report on turnout in the 35 statewide primaries held before September 1 by American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate, based on final and official results for the primaries prior to August 17 and final but unofficial for those primaries which occurred later.
So far, 30,283,128 citizens have voted in the primaries. Of that number 17,182,893 voted in Republican primaries; 12,963,925 voted in Democratic primaries and 136,310 voted in Green and Libertarian primaries or for candidates other than those running for major party nominations. (The GOP had three more statewide contests than the Democrats—Indiana, South Dakota and Utah— but the total votes cast in those GOP primaries was 826,603, hardly accounting for the more than 4 million vote difference between the parties.)
Republican turnout constituted an average of 10.5 percent of the eligible electorate, an increase of 2.3 percentage points over the 8.2 percent who voted in the 2006 primaries prior to September and the highest since 10.9 percent voted in 1970. Republican turnout increased in all but five states of the 35 that had statewide primaries, and GOP statewide primary turnout reached new records in nine states— Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Democratic turnout was 8.3 percent of the eligible electorate, lower than the 8.7 percent of the electorate who voted during this period in 2006 and continuing almost linear descent in Democratic primary turnout since 20.7 percent voted in the party’s primaries in 1966. Turnout increased in only nine of 32 Democratic statewide primaries, and among the 23 states where declines were recorded were many states with hotly contested races, including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois Michigan and Ohio. Democratic statewide primary turnout fell to record lows in 10 states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Author of the study, Curtis Gans, suggests that the current model for this fall's election is more like 1994 when Republicans took control of Congress. He also concludes that "odds favor the GOP in both 2010 and 2012, if they are careful," but warns of GOP overreach in the same way Obama and the Dems did in 2009.