It Happened Again

Feb 6 2012 @ 1:34pm

by Maisie Allison

Voter turnout in Nevada dropped by about 22 percent from 2008, when more than 44,000 Republicans participated (local GOP leaders had initially predicted that 70,000 voters would caucus on Saturday). While Romney won handily, he earned fewer votes than he did four years ago. Josh Barron downplays low turnout, claiming that "every vote not cast is effectively a vote for [Romney]." Last week, Sean Trende examined whether primary participation is a good indicator of general election strength:

In 2000, Republican primary turnout exceeded Democratic primary turnout for the first time ever, and yet Democrats won the popular vote. In 2004, Democratic participation in primaries was lower than at any time since the 1970s, and yet John Kerry came within a few points of winning the presidency. So I don’t think there’s much evidence that high turnout in presidential primaries produces a good result in the general election. What, then, are we to make of those surges? I think what we’ve seen — and why turnout is down this year — is that participation in presidential primaries is driven by close contests with multiple candidates vying for the vote. 

Noah Rothman adds

What the turnout problem portends may be less in the way of good news for Democrats and President Obama and just bad news for Romney – the party is just not sold on him and when they see a ray of hope that he can be defeated (e.g. South Carolina) they come out in droves to ensure that will be the case. Romney has not sold himself to the party, and after six years of campaigning for the presidency, that says a lot. The turnout question reveals at least one thing: the non-Romneys may be down, but they are not out yet. 

Related Dish coverage here