Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Primary Turnout is basically IRRELEVANT for November

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;
1 Corinthians 3:19

There's been a graphic floating around social media into which way too many people are reading way too much:

As you can see, in some of the larger counties, Democrat primary turnout is modestly outpacing the GOP.  This should surprise nobody.  The Democrat have a contested presidential primary, while the GOP has zero credibly contested (non-judicial) statewide races.

Unless you're in a part of the state that has a congressional or state rep. race, there's really no reason to vote in the GOP primary.

The current turnout patterns are what you should expect given what's on the ballot.

Consider the last time you had a contested Democrat presidential race, while the GOP ticket was basically set:

In 2008, 1.5 million more people voted in the Democrat primary...yet the GOP won everything in November.

Again, this is what you should expect.

Beyond that, some thoughts:

  • Every election cycle, external events change things.  The political environment of March is never the political environment of November.  That will probably happen this time as well.  We don't know what those events will be...or who they'll benefit...but it's nevertheless a safe bet that things will look different in eight months.
  • Lower turnout tends to mean a better informed electorate.  This is key in down ballot races.  If you care about down ballot races...why do you want to bring more low-information voters into the process?!?
  • Notwithstanding all the handwringing, R's are still outpacing D's by over 100k votes statewide.
  • While we stand by what we said above the truth is that, if you want to play this game, these are actually terrible numbers for the D's.  Their open presidential contest doesn't seem to be attracting casual voters.  Under 30k in Travis county?!?  Yikes.
Again, all of this you should expect.

Bottom Line: Nobody's going to know anything about the environment this fall until August at the earliest.  More likely October.  Relax.

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