Democrats Could Lose Voters to… Disinterest
While the Republicans try to get the negative taste of the government shutdown out of the voters’ mouths before next year’s midterm elections, a new study shows that the Democrats could lose a huge percentage of voters in coming years due to simple disinterest. According to political pollster Celinda Lake, without Barack Obama on the ticket, more than 20 million voters could stay home on Election Day.
Lake points out that there’s a “rising American electorate.” This electorate is made up of non-traditional voters (traditional voters being married white families) like unmarried women, millennials, African Americans, and Hispanics. They rising American electorate makes up 53.5 percent of eligible voters and this group voted heavily in favor of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. According to the study, 34.5 percent of those voters may stay home in November, nearly 22 million voters.
Lake notes that the biggest dropoff is expected among young people, as much as 46.8 percent fewer young voters than in 2012. The study shows potential dropoffs of 36.2 percent among African Americans, 34.1 percent among Hispanics, and 32.9 percent among single women.
While the percentages are larger than expected, we have already seen a similar phenomenon in the last midterm election in 2010. The dropoff among these voters dropped by 36.6 percent between 2008 and 2010, significantly higher than the dropoff among all eligible voters. In fact, Lake points out, the dropoff among traditional voters may be as low as 17.5 percent in the midterms.
The last time this happened, the Republicans won the House in a huge landslide victory in 2010. That’s a big problem for a Democratic Party that was hoping to cash in on rising GOP unpopularity following the government shutdown.
According to polls, voters have been leaning Democrat in generic congressional polling by 6-8 percent since the shutdown. Unfortunately, that number doesn’t predict voting trends nor does it take into account how congressional districts are drawn up. In 2012, the Republicans only won 49 percent of congressional votes nationally but took over 54 percent of seats. The Democrats earned 1.17 million more votes but found themselves with a significant minority in the House.
(Image: Center for American Progress Action Fund)