Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Bad sign for the GOP

3 of the 4 states that have held primaries so far are swing states.  Iowa, NH, and Florida have flipped between the parties over the last few elections.  And in those three states, the turnout for the GOP primaries, generally viewed as an indicator of voter enthusiasm, has been either slightly higher, or significantly lower than where it was in '08.  NH and IA registered mild upticks, but below what you might expect.  The GOP was the incumbent party in '08, and voter enthusiasm should be higher as the "out of power" party.  Add to that the fact that it's been assumed there would be an even stronger anti-Obama sentiment than against other incumbents.

In Florida last night, GOP turnout cratered compared to 4 years ago.  A very troubling sign, as Florida is probably the most important state in the country when one considers Electoral College math.

The only exception to rule is SC, which saw a marked increase in turnout.  Tellingly, this was (1) a state our likely nominee did not win, and (2) a state the GOP will carry under any but the largest pro-Obama landslide scenarios.

The Florida results, coupled with Iowa and NH, definitely make me wonder: Mitt may be en route to the nomination, but is the GOP on track to lose the White House?  A significant number of McCain voters  in Florida obviously felt that neither Gingrich nor Romney were worth pulling the lever for.  How does Mitt turn that around?


SheaHeyKid said...

So, I've seen these stories for a few weeks now and I have a different take than everyone is presenting. My take is less doomsday and hopefully correct.

Specifically, I think the low primary turnout is only representative of muted enthusiasm for the candidates, but importantly will NOT translate over into the general election. This is because I believe that while the party is split over the current crop of candidates, they are not split over booting Obama regardless of our candidate.

The base WILL be energized to beat Obama, and I suspect turnout will be very high.

One commentator was mentioning that a lot of the current Romney support is anti-Obama, rather than pro-Romney. To which I say, who cares. Anti-Obama voter enthusiasm in many ways could be a bigger motivation to go out and vote in November than pro-candidate. Again, in 2010 when we had a landslide people weren't voting FOR their GOP candidates as much as they were voting AGAINST the Dems.

Fredo said...

Here's hoping you're right. I'd feel more comfortable if I could see some historical stats that show a low correlation between primary turnout and general election turnout. My non-quantifiable feeling is that, in our adult lives, the correlation has been fairly positive.

One can be anti-Obama, but you still need a preferable option.

In fact, one might argue that is exactly why W was able to win re-election despite approval / disapproval numbers that are worse than Obama's.


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Always sniffing for the truth

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