Yesterday, three states which flipped from “red” in 2000 and 2004 to “blue” in 2008, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio, held primaries and, as Reid Wilson reports at Hotline, “Turnout among Dem voters dropped precipitously [with] Dems turned out at far lower rates than they have in previous comparable elections“:
Just 663K OH voters cast ballots in the competitive primary between LG Lee Fisher (D) and Sec/State Jennifer Brunner (D). That number is lower than the 872K voters who turned out in ’06, when neither Gov. Ted Strickland (D) nor Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) faced primary opponents.
Only 425K voters turned out to pick a nominee against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). The 14.4% turnout was smaller than the 444K voters — or 18% of all registered Dem voters — who turned out in ’04, when Gov. Mike Easley (D) faced only a gadfly candidate in his bid to be renominated for a second term.
And in IN, just 204K Hoosiers voted for Dem House candidates, far fewer than the 357K who turned out in ’02 and the 304K who turned out in ’06.
By contrast, GOP turnout was up almost across the board. 373K people voted in Burr’s uncompetitive primary, nearly 9% higher than the 343K who voted in the equally non-competitive primary in ’04. Turnout in House races in IN rose 14.6% from ’06, fueled by the competitive Senate primary, which attracted 550K voters. And 728K voters cast ballots for a GOP Sec/State nominee in Ohio, the highest-ranking statewide election with a primary; in ’06, just 444K voters cast ballots in that race.
Looking at these numbers, Jennifer Rubin quips, “It looks like ObamaCare didn’t do much to rev up the base.”
These numbers indicate that the 2008 election was not a realigning election and that the Democrat’s success had less to do with enthusiasm for his party than disgruntlement with the status quo.