• Clinton vs. Sanders: Toss-Up Turnout

    A recurring argument I’ve heard (several times, in various ways) from Sanders supporters runs something like this:

    Hillary Clinton’s historically high unfavorables will depress turnout among Democratic base voters in the general election, especially the progressive wing of the party. We need someone like Bernie Sanders to generate unprecedented turnout among hitherto underrepresented electoral constituencies in order to win the White House in 2016.

    It is a plausible enough argumentespecially early on in the primariesbut by now we should already know whether it has proven true when tested in the field in states where actual Democratic voters had the chance to actually cast votes. If the argument is sound, we should expect that Clinton will have been swamped by an influx of Sanders voters in the relatively few swing states which will most likely decide the presidential election this fall.

    Swing states map
    Swing states map via 270toWin

    The “swingingest” states this year are (from west to east) Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. Here is what the primaries and caucuses looked like, in chronological order:

    Date State Contest type Clinton Sanders
    01-Feb Iowa Semi-open caucus                  701                  697
    09-Feb New Hampshire Semi-closed primary            95,324          152,181
    20-Feb Nevada Closed caucus              6,316              5,678
    01-Mar Colorado Closed caucus            49,789            72,846
    01-Mar Virginia Open primary          503,358          275,507
    15-Mar Florida Closed primary      1,101,414          568,839
    15-Mar Ohio Semi-open primary          696,681          535,395
    15-Mar North Carolina Semi-closed primary          622,919          467,143
    05-Apr Wisconsin Open primary          432,767          567,936
    26-Apr Pennsylvania Closed primary          918,694          719,960
         4,427,963      3,366,182

    Clinton is driving far more voters to the polls overall; the only primary contest states where Sanders clearly outperforms her are New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes). Arguably, Sanders could turn out more people in Colorado as well, but caucus turnout is not a reliable indicator of voter turnout at the ballot box, as we saw dramatically demonstrated in the bizarre case of Nebraska, where they held both caucuses and primaries this year.

    Turning out the base will indeed form a crucial component of the 2016 presidential contest, especially in high-population swing states such as Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Ohio (18 electoral votes), North Carolina (15 electoral votes), and Virginia (13 electoral votes). The data do not support the hypothesis that the Bernie Sanders movement has created a formidable turnout machine in those crucial areas.

    Category: Current EventsDamned Lies and StatisticsPolitics

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.