How energized are Democrat voters in the 2016 primaries so far? My last Blog showed that the GOP turnout has blown away both 2012 and 2008 so far, but what about the Democrats?
Using the same comparisons as used for the GOP, CHART 1 shows that the opposite trend prevails in the Democrat primaries. Voter turnout in 2016 is below the 2008 turnout in 11 of the 14 states shown.
- No totals from 2012 are shown, as President Obama was unchallenged as the incumbent president.
- Iowa isn’t in the chart due to the State Democrat party’s reluctance to release an official vote total.
When the total votes from all 14 states are compared, as shown in CHART 2, the size of 2016’s Democrat turn out is revealed as lagging far behind 2008. So far, 2.6 million fewer votes were cast in 2016 than in 2012.
So how would Hillary Clinton be doing if she ran against the winner’s totals from 2008?
CHART 3 compares the winning candidate vote totals from each of the first 14 states, minus Iowa as noted. The data shows that the winner in 2016 would have lost with the same votes in 2008 in 9 of the 14 states.
TABLE 1 shows the raw vote totals, and breaks out the states won by then Senator Obama in 2008, and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 front-runner, in blue. Barack Obama would have won 5 states vs. the 9 he actually won in 2008. Hillary Clinton would have won only 5 states, vs. the 9 she has won so far in 2016.
So what does this data mean?
First, it indicates that the 2016 Democrat turnout is lagging way behind 2008. Going into this weekends contests, Democrat votes were 2.6 million fewer than in 2008. Added with the GOP increased turnout, there is a delta of 6.3 million votes in favor of Republicans. Some of that delta is the result of democrat and independent voters moving into the Republican primaries.
Second, if the general election follows the path of the primaries, it bodes well for the eventual Republican nominee. The challenge for the GOP is to keep the energy up, carry every primary vote into November, and to unite the party.