The Republican Party might very well be coming apart at the seams, but the same time it is getting millions of new voters in the primary while almost a quarter fewer voters than 2008 are participating in the Democratic primary.
Following Mitt Romney’s lose in 2012 the Republican National Committee released an “autopsy” in which they identified ways to grow the party. The report found that the Republican party would need to become “inclusive” and appeal to women and Hispanics.
Despite effectively eschewing this strategy in 2016, the Republican Party has experienced an increase of 55 percent in turnout so far this primary, according to figures provided to The Daily Caller by the RNC. Compared to 2008, Democratic turnout is down 21 percent.
It is certainly easy to tie this increased turnout to Donald Trump. The outspoken billionaire has certainly dominated the national conversation, which in turn brings attention to the GOP primary. Though it is important to note these new primary voters are not all Trump supporters. As TheDC reported Thursday, turnout is up across the board for all candidates. When Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] won Wisconsin, he did so with more than double the amount of votes John McCain got when he won the Badger State in 2008.
Here are some more figures about turnout changes for the respective parties.
|5,000,000||More voters have voted Republican in 2016|
|57%||Of voters this year have voted GOP|
|43%||Of voters this year have voted Dem|
|28 of 33||Number of states Dem turnout is down|
|29 of 34||Number of states GOP turnout is up|
|-4,000,000||Less people have voted Dem vs 2008|
|8,000,000||More people have voted GOP vs 2012|
The GOP has taken solace in these figures in the face of a tumultuous primary. RNC chair Reince Priebus has said, “While Democrats have seen turnout drop across the board, the record number of Republicans who have gone to the polls in each state shows the country is ready for change after eight years of failed leadership from President Obama.”
Paul Begala, longtime Clinton ally and adviser to pro-Hillary Super PAC Priorities USA Action, told TheDC, “the enthusiasm gap is my greatest concern as a Democrat. We simply must inspire and turn out our voters without the benefit of having [President] Obama on the ballot.”
He added, “I believe we have the solution, however, in Trump and Cruz. Those two knuckle-draggers will turn out progressive voters in droves.”
Typically it has been thought voters aren’t motivated to go to the polls to vote against a candidate. Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, however, pointed TheDC towards the 2012 American National Election Study. He said it “shows a plurality of voters have a more negative opinion of the other party than they have a positive one of their own party.”
“It’s been suggested that one motivation is showing up to vote against what you don’t like, so perhaps it could work for Clinton,” Skelley said.
Regarding the implications of primary turnout in the general election, he remarked, “It’s funny because one of the best years in history for Democratic turnout was 1988 and that ended up being a pretty ugly election in the general for Democrats in the end.”