How Energized Are Democrat Voters In 2016?

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.

Notes:

  • 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.
CHART 1: 2016 Compared With 2008 Vote Totals. More Votes Were Cast in 11 of 14 Contests in 2008.

CHART 1: 2016 Compared With 2008 Vote Totals. More Votes Were Cast in 11 of 14 Contests in 2008.

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.

CHART 2: 2.6 Million More Votes Were Cast In 2008 In These 14 States Than In 2016.

CHART 2: 2.6 Million More Votes Were Cast In 2008 In These 14 States Than In 2016.

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.

CHART 3: The Winners In 2016 Would Have Only Carried Only 5 of 14 States vs 2008

CHART 3: The Winners In 2016 Would Have Only Carried Only 5 of 14 States vs 2008

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.

TABLE 1: The 2016 Willer's Votes Would Have Only Carried 4 of 14 States vs. 2008.

TABLE 1: The 2016 Winner’s Votes Would Have Only Carried 5 of 14 States vs. 2008.

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.

What If Romney or McCain Were Running In 2016?

What if Romney or McCain were Running in the 2016 GOP Primaries? Mitt Romney unleashed a blistering condemnation of Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, on Thursday, followed quickly by John McCain’s piling on. They speak from positions as elected Republicans, but also as the previous two Republican Presidential nominees, both of who were defeated in the general election by President Obama. It raises an interesting question: how would their nomination runs stack up in comparison to the 2016 GOP primaries?

So far, 15 states held their GOP nominating contests, with the 16th going today. CHART 1 compares the state-by-state vote totals between 2008, 2012 and 2016. Those comparisons show that the votes cast in each of the 15 states in 2016 exceed the totals from either 2008 or 2012.

More Total Votes Were Cast In Each Of The First 15 States In 2016 Than In Either 2012 Or 2008.

CHART 1: More Total Votes Were Cast In Each Of The First 15 States In 2016 Than In Either 2012 Or 2008.

When the total votes from all 15 states are compared, as shown in CHART 2, the magnitude of 2016’s turn out is revealed. So far, 3.87 million more votes were cast in 2016 than in 2012, and 3.72 million more than in 2008. So how would Romney or McCain be doing?

Total Votes Cast In First 15 State Contests: 2016 (9,665,126), 2012 (5,797,112), 2008 (5,946,814)

CHART 2: Total Votes Cast In First 15 State Contests: 2016 (9,665,126), 2012 (5,797,112), 2008 (5,946,814)

CHART 3 compares the winning candidate’s vote totals from each of the first 15 states. The data shows that with the same votes, the winner in 2016 would have won in 2008 and 2012 in 12 of the 15 states.

12 of 15 States Had More Votes Cast In 2016 For The Winner Than In 2012 or 2008.

CHART 3: 12 of 15 States Had More Votes Cast In 2016 For The Winner Than In 2012 or 2008.

TABLE 1 shows the raw vote totals, and breaks out the states won by Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 in blue. South Carolina’s winner (Newt Gingrich) in 2012 beat Donald Trump, the 2016 winner. That means that Romney would have lost all but one state: Vermont.

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TABLE 1: 12 of 15 State Vote Totals In 2016 Exceed Those Of 2012 or 2008.

When McCain’s totals are put to the test, interestingly the same result occurs. He would have been defeated in all but one state, Vermont. A second state, Arkansas, also exceeded the 2016 winner’s total, but in 2008 that state was won by Mike Huckabee.

So what does this data mean?

  • First, it indicates that the 2016 GOP turnout is very high. The GOP will need millions more votes in the general election to win than Romney got in 2012. So far, those voters are turning out.
  • Second, although there is no way to be sure, it looks like both Romney and McCain would have been soundly defeated if they had run this year. As a result, their moral positions as beaten GOP candidates is far less impactful.

If they are unhappy with Donald Trump’s success so far, they have but themselves to blame. If either had captured the Nation’s support and won, Trump would not likely be on the Nation’s radar screen today!

Data from USElectionAtlas.Org