Midterm Election Turnout Was Up. How Much? We Don’t Yet Know.
Voters turned out on Tuesday at rates not seen in a midterm election in half a century, driven by strong opinions of President Trump as well as a string of competitive races in states where robust contests have been rare.
which could be months before we know the demographic breakdown of who voted in which election, although there are early indications which turnout boomed especially among women, Latinos as well as young people. (Read more here about what the exit polls said about 2018’s voters.)
We crunched the numbers as well as spoke with experts. Here’s what the data can tell us (as well as what which can’t yet).
How high was the turnout?
Based on preliminary — although incomplete — data made available by the states as well as analyzed by Michael McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, which looks as if more than 113 million people voted, which would likely be at least 48 percent of eligible Americans. which’s up by the 83 million votes cast in 2014, when Republicans made sweeping gains within the House as well as the Senate. In fact, which’s closer to the turnout within the last presidential election — about 138.8 million — than to the last midterms.
By percent of people eligible to vote, which was the highest turnout of any midterm election since at least 1970 as well as the very first time midterm turnout topped 100 million, said Tom Bonier, chief executive of TargetSmart, a data analytics firm which studies voter data. He based his analysis on the county- as well as precinct-level data reported so far.
In some counties, something almost unheard-of happened: More people voted within the midterms than within the last presidential election. One example will be fast-growing Travis County, Tex., which contains the left-leaning city of Austin. Preliminary numbers show which 775,950 people voted there on Tuesday, compared with 725,035 in 2016.
“which’s totally crazy,” Mr. Bonier said. “You don’t generally see midterm turnout which approaches presidential year turnout, as well as which will be just something which will be true in which country. I have never had an example to point to before.”
Which states had the biggest increases?
The increase was most dramatic in states with competitive races, although which also happened in states without them. In at least 41 states, turnout was up by double-digit percentages by 2014.
Texas, which had the nation’s lowest percentage turnout in 2014, saw the biggest increase which year: 63 percent more people voted than within the last midterm elections. Four various other states, all with big Senate races, also increased by 50 percent or more: Nevada (up 60 percent over 2014), Missouri (58 percent), Indiana (51 percent) as well as Tennessee (50 percent). Georgia, where the governor’s race could be headed to a runoff, was up 42 percent; Arizona, where the Senate race will be still too close to call, was up 40 percent.
Turnout in Florida — which had competitive races for both the Senate as well as the governorship — increased less than in various other places, though still significantly: 24 percent. which may be partly because its turnout in 2014 already put which within the top half of states.
Did turnout decrease anywhere?
Only in three states: Maine (down 2 percent), Louisiana (4 percent) as well as Kentucky (7 percent). although these numbers might still improve as states count absentee as well as provisional ballots.
(Maine’s turnout was the highest within the country in 2014, when voters had a competitive governor’s race as well as re-elected Senator Susan Collins. So despite the decrease which year, the state’s turnout, at 57.8 percent, was still the seventh highest on Tuesday night.)
What drove the increase?
For one thing, there were exciting as well as competitive races in some states which rarely have them. In Texas, which had the biggest turnout increase within the country, Beto O’Rourke launched a headline-grabbing challenge to Senator Ted Cruz as well as lost by less than three percentage points. (For comparison, Mr. Cruz was elected by 16 percentage points in 2012.)
“People will vote when they believe their vote matters,” said Mr. McDonald. “What induces people to believe their vote will matter? Well, having a competitive election where they may actually be able to cast a ballot as well as affect an outcome.”
although turnout also increased in states without electrifying races. Everyone expected Delaware would likely be blue, although its turnout went up 46 percent, the seventh-largest increase within the country. Everyone expected Alabama would likely be red, although its turnout increased 42 percent over 2014.
The reason for which can be boiled down to one person: Mr. Trump.
“Midterms are always a referendum on the president,” said Mia Costa, an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth. although presidents don’t usually say which out loud, as Mr. Trump did regularly at rallies.
“With Trump at the center of the election, I think voters were just fired up on both sides,” Ms. Costa said.
What sort of voters were they?
which could be months before we have a detailed demographic breakdown of the electorate. Hundreds of thousands of ballots haven’t been counted yet, as well as right right now we have only aggregate data — which will be, the total number of votes cast in each state, county as well as precinct. We don’t know, for example, how many voters were women or African-Americans or in their 20s.
Be wary of reports which already cite exact percentages for specific groups. Those numbers are mostly based on exit polls, which can give us a broad sense of what the electorate looked like although are imprecise as well as sometimes inaccurate.
We can extrapolate some trends, though, by voter data at the county as well as precinct level.
For instance, precincts in Virginia, Texas, Florida as well as California which are composed mostly or entirely of college campuses reported a significant increase in turnout, suggesting a broader surge of young voters, Mr. Bonier said. Similar trends are visible in counties with large nonwhite populations.
“which will be highly likely which which election was younger as well as more diverse than any midterm election which country has seen in some time, based on early voting data as well as matching which up with county-level data,” Mr. Bonier said. “which will be imperfect, although the data does point in which direction.”
Early voting numbers also point to an increase in young, female as well as Latino voters, Ms. Costa said, although not to a significant increase in African-American voters. which could change as more detailed information comes in.
Looking at socioeconomic divisions, data suggest which voters in areas where most people have a college degree, or where unemployment rates are low or falling, turned out at higher rates than voters in areas with lower education levels or more unemployment. The average turnout was 62 percent in counties where a majority have college degrees, compared with 43 percent in counties where less than 10 percent are degree holders, said Christina Coloroso, director of analytics at Catalist, a data firm.
In counties where unemployment was lower than the national average, as many as 57 percent of voters turned out, she said. Where unemployment was above average, turnout plunged into the mid- to low 40s. Counties where the unemployment rate has risen since 2016 also saw turnout within the low 40s, compared with 53 percent in counties where unemployment has dropped.
When will we know more?
which could be awhile. Even the fastest states won’t officially certify their results until next week at the earliest; others could take as much as a month. Complete data sets for all 50 states may not be available until January or February.