Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FINAL TURNOUT #''s: Democratic Base Ignored Primaries // Baltimore, Prince George's & Montgomery Had Worst Turnout

DOUBLE-UPDATE: Maryland Juice reader "MoCoKevin" has an insightful comment about turnout disparities in Maryland. He points out that our short-hand analysis below ignores the varying numbers of unaffiliated voters between the counties:
MOCO KEVIN: headline mentions that the "Big Three" were the lowest turnout counties. While your facts are correct, the conclusion is slightly off. Unlike Balt City and PG Co, MoCo has the highest percentage of non-Dem, non-GOP. We currently have more voters registered as Unaffiliated than we do as Republicans. As such the only race for those voters to vote is the School Board, that is not a compelling enough reason to vote.

When a full quarter of the electorate is not voting, as was the case in MoCo, you will have significantly lower overall turnout. This different than the case of Balt City and PG Co, which have low numbers of Unaffiliated voters.

Without that insight you lose context.

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun today confirms that the 2012 primaries had the worst voter turnout on record in Maryland. They also note that the low participation was to be expected, given the dynamics of the electoral cycle:
Voter turnout for the presidential primary Tuesday was Maryland's lowest in at least 32 years.

About 21 percent of registered voters cast a ballot Tuesday, according to early tallies from the Maryland Board of Elections. That figure does not include absentee and provisional ballots, which may push up the final total, but officials said turnout won't reach 25 percent. That is the previous record low — set in 1996 — in the 32 years for which statewide records are available....

"Voters know when there's a real election and when there's not a real election," said John Willis, a political science professor at the University of Baltimore and former Maryland secretary of state. Tuesday's election, he said, did not have enough competitive races to draw people to the polls..... The poor showing shouldn't cause alarm, said Willis, who has studied presidential races in Maryland.

Maryland Juice just looked at the final turnout figures for the April 2012 Presidential Primaries, and one obvious fact stands out: the Democratic strongholds had the worst turnout in the state.

The trifecta of Democratic powerhouses were the bottom three jurisdictions for voter turnout (including both early voting and election day participants). This isn't terribly surprising, given that the Republicans had a Presidential race occurring, while the Democrats only had two truly competitive Congressional primaries to monitor (CD1 & CD6).

Worst Turnout Rates in Maryland
  1. Baltimore City - 14.00%
  2. Montgomery - 14.17%
  3. Prince George's - 14.53%

Final Maryland Turnout Figures for 2012 Presidential Primaries (By County)

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