Tracking Voter Enthusiasm So Far: Which Political Party Is More Energized?

March 11, 2016

by Bill Jaeck

Special Guest Perspective for the MacIver Institute

Remember when the political analysts said Mitt Romney needed approximately 3.0M more votes in the 2012 election to be referred to as President Romney today? Experts theorized that Mr. Romney failed to capture the Evangelicals and independents as these people just stayed home and refused to vote. It came down to one word: Turnout.

Wow, how things have changed in 2016 as turnout has been massive for the GOP. Throughout the primary season hundreds of voting precincts have temporarily run out of ballots with long voting lines. We’re about 40% into the primary season but an interesting data point has surfaced, that is, there are more energized voters for the GOP candidates in the first 20 of 21 states. To date more than 11.6M have voted for Republicans compared to only 7.3M in 2012 …. that’s a positive delta of 4.3M and an amazing 60% increase.

For example, the states with a plus 200% increase over 2012 in votes include: Arkansas, Maine and Virginia. Those states over 100% include: Nevada, Minnesota, and Kansas. These turnout numbers are incredible as they are staggering! In Virginia for example, the voter increase was +749,000 over the 2012 primary while in the 2012 presidential race Mitt Romney actually lost Virginia by only 149,000 votes.

Of course VA, NH, and IA are typically swing states so are they in play this November for the Republican party? Answer: The data says yes, but it assumes that voters rally around the single candidate selected at the convention….. and that can’t be assured.

Then there’s the antithesis and it is the Democratic Party, where primary voting is actually down approximately 30% from 2012.

The chart below depicts the primary results by state compared to the 2012 GOP primaries.

Republican Voter Turnout.png