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Author Topic: The voter turnout mystery
TheSteelenGeneral
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There is some oddity about the primaries which have baffled me for sometime now.

When I first started to tune into the US primaries, I was amazed by how much the higher the voter turnout is on Democratic side. Simple straightforward reasoning would indicate that the next president MUST be a Democrat, since it was always at least 20 percent higher, often more than 50 percent higher and at times the even the Democratic loser had more turnout than the two leading Repubs combined.
Yet, when Gallup polls the public on the general election they don't find that either Obama or Clinton decimates McCain, McCain's even beating Clinton?

And then I hear that Democrats ALWAYS have had a higher turnout, historically.
What's going on? Do Democrat primary voters all have a lot to do around the house or something come election day November? Do Democrats en masse fail to register between now and November?
(It would be exceedingly stupid of Democrats not to have organized a voter registration opportunity while people where coming out to vote in the primaries anyway, but I wouldn't put it past them.)
Or do Repubes just don't bother with the primaries? Are they so arrogantly confident that they will always win? The voting machine company most used in American general elections, after all, IS owned by a leading Repub, from Ohio.

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Jesse
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Registered Democrats often cross over to vote for Republicans in the general.
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flydye45
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Not to mention, those who turn out for their favorite flavor of candidate may opt out if their guy doesn't win out of pique.
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Jesse
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I think, historically, the Republicans have been much happier with their choice of candidates during the primaries, and this year low turnout for primaries has been the result of disatisfaction with candidates on their side.

Tell me if I'm wrong, Fly, you're the Republican [Wink]

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flydye45
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Hmm, no.

Dole? I supposed to be excited by Dole? I held my nose for Bush! It is more a measure of how odious the Democratic candidates are which drive the Republican response.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"It is more a measure of how odious the Democratic candidates are which drive the Republican response."

Reactionary.

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TheSteelenGeneral
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
Registered Democrats often cross over to vote for Republicans in the general.

And why doesn't it happen the other way round? Are republicans genetically enhanced (or flawed, depending [Wink] ) This doesn't seem a solid answer to me.
quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Not to mention, those who turn out for their favorite flavor of candidate may opt out if their guy doesn't win out of pique.

This would've made sense had it been Obama lagging behind Clinton, because Obama's voter base has been Indepedents and repubes, who won't likely EVER vote for THAT woman. But it's Clinton who's lagging, and her voters are more leftist, they are unlikely to crossover to Repubs side.
So ... that doesn't make really a lot of sense either. I mean have you seen those numbers for wisconsin?

John McCain 224.226
Mike Huckabee 151.201
Ron Paul 19.21
Mitt Romney 8.082
Uninstructed 849
TOTAL 384.358
Barack Obama 646.007
Hillary Clinton 452.795
Uninstructed 859
TOTAL 1.099.661

Here, Clinton, as the big loser, had more voters than all repubs combined!
The democrats have MORE than 2,5 times as much voters. This is ridiculous.
Even if some Clintonians will defect, how does that to account for the mere 6 point lead Obama has over Mccain in the GenPop Polls
It seems unlikely they, or Obamans will defect in such numbers to account for this.

Is there some accounting error at work here?
And greater "moral fiber" on the repub side seems unlikely, both on principle and given their lack of enthousiasm for their candidate.

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flydye45
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Primaries aren't "sexy" to the American public. Addtionally, the Dems have been out of power generally since 1994 and totally since 2000, with a small bitter bite at the apple since 2006. They are HUNGERY. Plus so many of them can get Liberal street cred "Oh, I voted for the first black/woman president...BEFORE the general election."

And Republicans are demoralized. One ,we don't like McCain. Two, we've been battered by the war, frequently unfairly. Third, we don't like McCain. Fourth, the Republicans we sent up there strayed off the reservation. Fifth, even though he's inevitable (suppressing voter turn out) we really don't like McCain.

[ February 21, 2008, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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TheSteelenGeneral
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Hey I'm glad you could get that out of your system and all that, but that does just account for the low voter turnout but NOT FOR THE CLOSENESS IN nationall polls, between either Obama-Mccan, (6 points) diff and Clinton - Mccain, (2 points diff)

Can I ask you to focus?

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martel
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You could ask, but it would be wasted...

And fly has a very valid point. Think about it. Many Republicans are probably fed up with politics like fly explains, and therefore don't really care enough to vote in the primaries. But if a pollster calls their house, who do you think they're gonna respond for? The spineless liberal? They'll still say McCain, even if they're not that excited.

Also, this is an INCREDIBLY energetic democratic race. It's close, people's votes count, the candidates really excite a lot of people, and history may be made (although I despise that line, it's sort of true in terms of motivating people.)

Look at Wisconsin, your example. The Republican race is over for all practical purposes, while the Democratic obviously still matters. Many Republican voters probably asked themselves if an empty gesture was really worth standing in line and all the associated hassles of voting.

You say the Democratic numbers are always higher...do you have proof? (Not that I disbelieve you, I'd just like to see how much).

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TheSteelenGeneral
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I admit I heard this on TV somewhere, maybe meet the press or some such show.
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