No surge detected yet
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014
* As subscribers know, We Ask America has been tracking early and absentee voting in the Republican primary this season.
The following chart breaks down who has already voted early or sent in an absentee GOP ballot and compares that to all voting in the 2010 Republican primary.
A Democrat is classified as somebody who has taken a “D” primary ballot at least once since 2008. Independents are those who have not voted in a partisan primary since 2008. The State Board of Elections’ voter file is matched up with the names of people who’ve already voted…
* So, as you can see, the percentage of historic Democrats participating in the GOP primary so far appears at first blush to be a bit higher than it was in the 2010 primary.
But, that’s not really what’s going on here.
* The percentage total of independents voting early in the Republican primary is down six points so far from the final 2010 total. Republican participation on the GOP primary is up about three points and Democratic participation in the Republican primary is also up about three from the final 2010 number.
In reality, while the final vote will skew slightly more Democratic (but balanced out by a slightly higher GOP base turnout), there is no surge detected here, just a six-point drop in interest by independents.
And as my pollster Chris Wieneke says, this could all correct itself by election day, when independents might come out in higher numbers.
Also, Democratic participation in the Republican primary could change on election day itself, when unions will be pushing their members to get out and vote. We’ll see, but a major crossover has never been attempted here.
Many of us know Democrats or independents taking Republican ballots for the first time, but, so far at least, it’s not showing up in the results.
* Perhaps more interesting, however, is that more Republican ballots have been cast so far, 49,010, than Democratic ballots, 45,905. Usually, Democratic primary turnout dwarfs Republican turnout. Four years ago, 915,726 votes were cast in the Democratic gubernatorial primary while 767,485 were cast in the GOP primary.
That’s likely a function of the cash spent on the GOP side and the lack of any cash spent on the D side. The most impact will be down-ballot. Who’s turning out in competitive House primaries, for instance?