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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Clues from Battleground States Turnout

At U.S. News Lindsey Cook reports on midterm voter turnout declines and increases between 2010 and 2014. Here are some figures for U.S. Senate and Governorship battleground states turnout differences between 2010 and 2014, based on data from the United States Election Project :

AK +2.4
AR +3.3
CO +0.7
FL +0.9
GA -6.5
IA -0.1
KY -0.1
KS +0.2
LA +3.9
MA -5.5
ME +3.4
MD -1.2
MI -2.5
NC +0.9
NH +2.7
PA -6.3
SD -12.5
TX -4.1
VA -2.4
WI +4.5

Dems won in LA (w/ run-off), MI, NH, PA and VA (not yet certified, but pretty solid), and had a split decision in CO where we re-elected Gov Hickenlooper, but lost Udall’s Senate seat. But its a mixed bag in terms of voter turnout, with modest increases from 2010-14 in three of the states we won (CO, LA and NH), and turnout declines in the rest. It seems safe to guestimate that Dem GOTV was better than average in those three states. Elsewhere it was inadequate to offset voter discontent and/or Republican GOTV.
We can credit the campaigns and state Democratic parties in those three states with heroic turnout work. And it may be that Dems had good GOTV in some of the other states, but were just swamped by voters who favored Republicans. What is clear now, however, is that the value of high-tech GOTV operations ascribed to the Democratic Party was overhyped — and there’s no substitute for strong candidates and campaigns and a favorable economy.

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