Amid all of the uncertainty in politics, we know at least this much: Elections are all about turnout.
Which is why we were very excited to see a new and comprehensive study from Nonprofit Vote, a nonpartisan origination that works with nonprofits to encourage voter participation. The study, which you can read in its entirety on the group's Web site, includes a breakdown of 2012 turnout rates in all 50 states and the District. The percentages were calculated by dividing the number of ballots cast by the voting eligible population.
With less than a week to go in the 2012 election, voters are less enthusiastic about casting ballots than they were in either of the last two presidential elections, according to a new Gallup poll.
The numbers suggest that there could well be a dropoff in voter turnout on Election Day.
According to Gallup’s numbers, 85 percent of poll respondents say they have given at least some thought to the election. That’s down from 90 percent in 2004 and 87 percent in 2008.
President Obama may win re-election, but if he does it appears it will be without the legions of fervent supporters and big enthusiasm that propelled him to victory four years ago.
In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Mitt Romney’s supporters are about as enthusiastic about supporting him in November as are those who back Obama. This is a stark contrast from the Post-ABC poll earlier this month, as well as throughout 2008, when Obama had huge leads over Sen. John McCain in this area.
Two paradoxical findings from a new Washington Post-ABC News poll offer unique insight into how Obama’s chances at re-election hinge closely on his ability to inspire supporters to get out and vote.
1. Obama voters are 10 percentage points more likely than Romney voters to say they are “very enthusiastic” about supporting him 56 percent to 46 percent.
2. Romney voters are seven points more apt than Obama voters to say they are “absolutely certain” to vote in November.
Reports of the GOP’s turnout problems appear to have been slightly premature.
A Fix review of turnout in the Republican presidential nominating process shows that it has rebounded in recent weeks, and GOP voters are now turning out in consistently higher numbers than they did in 2008.
In addition, in the most competitive Republican contests held this year, turnout is up almost universally, with just a couple exceptions.
Turnout is up in all four states that have held major contests since Super Tuesday — Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Illinois — and is up overall in eight of 12 contests held this month for which there was a comparable contest held four years ago.
Much has been written about how turnout in Republican presidential contests has been down from four years ago, but what about Democrats?
A review of the states that have also held Democratic contests this year shows turnout is down sharply from the last time a Democratic president was running largely unopposed for renomination — 1996.
Democratic turnout is down significantly in five of eight states that held similar contests in 1996 and 2012 (and where data are available), and six of eight overall, compared to Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.