Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Voter turnout in key 2014 Senate races.

Impact of Turnout on 2014 Results

Question:   How important was voter participation in determining outcome of Senate races in 2014?

Discuss implications of turnout numbers regarding the strategy of Democrats distancing themselves from President Obama both in 2014 and in 2016.

Data Sources:

I got information on total number of people who voted in 13 key Senate races from the Politico.  




I chose Politico as the source because it included data on third-party candidates. 




My information source for the 2012 vote totals was Wikipedia.   Wikipedia had one chart that included all states and all candidates.


Results:   The chart below has information for 13 states on the total number of people who voted for President in 2012 and for Senate in 2014.  The table also has information on the total and percentage change in the decline in total voters.


Total Number of People Voting in 2012 and in Key 2014 Senate Races
Total Voted in 2014
Total Voted in 2012
Difference
% Decline (with 2012 as base)
Alaska
225,106
300,495
-75,389
-25.1%
Arkansas
842,798
1,069,468
-226,670
-21.2%
Colorado
1,948,249
2,569,520
-621,271
-24.2%
Georgia
2,598,170
3,900,050
-1,301,880
-33.4%
Iowa
1,124,245
1,582,180
-457,935
-28.9%
Louisiana
1,471,692
1,994,065
-522,373
-26.2%
Kansas
844,874
1,159,971
-315,097
-27.2%
Kentucky
1,435,734
1,797,212
-361,478
-20.1%
New Hampshire
485,568
710,972
-225,404
-31.7%
North Carolina
2,886,210
4,505,372
-1,619,162
-35.9%
South Dakota
279,326
363,815
-84,489
-23.2%
Virginia
2,179,234
3,854,489
-1,675,255
-43.5%
West Virginia
450,931
670,438
-219,507
-32.7%


Observations:

The decline in the percent of people voting 2012 to 2014 ranged from 20.1 % in Kentucky to 43.5% in Virginia.

Implications:    Most of the 2014 Democratic candidates deliberately distanced themselves from President Obama.     The practical impact of this strategy was that there was no thoughtful discussion of some of the tough decisions that President Obama had to make regarding a broad range of issues – Ebola, ISIS, and the economy.   Critics of the Administration dominated the airwaves.   As a result, people who believe that change was necessary came out and voted and people who believe that world is a bit more complex stayed home.

I don’t display information in this post on what voters showed up at the polls and what voters stayed home.    My sense is that that the 2014 result did not occur because people changed their mind about President Obama.   Rather his supporters did not show up. 

The enthusiasm gap may continue to grow if the Democrats coronate Hillary and the Republicans have a vigorous conversation leading up to the selection of a nominee.  Also, I don’t believe that Hillary is capable of getting Obama supporters to the polls while continuing to distance herself from his views and achievements.  








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