With 9 days left until the election, there is no doubt that there has been a tremendous turn out based on early voting stats. To this point, those results have been tremendously lopsided, with the number of vote cast so far heavily favoring the democrats.
The Election Project website shows that there have already been 58.7 million votes casts. That equates to around 42% of the total votes in all of 2016. While some states only report the total number of votes cast, others will report the party’s breakdown of votes. In total, we have data on 26.6 million votes, with 13.1 million voters from the democratic party, 7.4 million votes coming from the Republicans, and 6.1 million for independents. It means that the Democrats right now have about 50% of total votes that we know of, while the Republicans represent just 28%, with the independents at 22%. Those numbers will become more evenly divided by the time November 3 arrives.
Since 1992 the average voter turnout for Democrats is 38.5%, while Republican turnout is around 34.3%, and Independents represent 26.5%. In 2016, the split was 37% for Democrats, 33% for Republicans, and 31% for Independents.
The largest turnout for Democrats came in 1996 with a turnout of 40%. Meanwhile, the biggest Republican turnout came in 2004 at 37%. Both 1996 and 2004 were years that a President was running for re-election, which may have been a motivating factor in the higher turnout rates. However, that did not happen in 2012, with democrats representing 38% of the vote, which was down from 39% in 2008, while republicans were flat at 32%, and independents were also flat at 29%.
The voter turnout will be incredibly important in this race because it will come down to who can motivate their base to come out and vote. Since 1992, on average, Democrats have voted their party 87% of the time, while Republicans are also at 87%. At the same time, independents on average have voted for the Democrat candidate 45% of the time and the Republican candidate 44% of the time.
Trump did a good job of getting his base out in 2016, with a Republican turnout of 33%, which was higher than the 32% in 2012, but below the average. Meanwhile, Clinton saw here turnout drop to 37% from 38%. Additionally, republicans voted for Trump at a 90% rate, while Clinton saw 87% support among her party. Independents gave Trump the win, with 47% of them supporting Trump and 42% supporting Clinton.
Both candidates have some run for improvement, to move back to the historical averages. Prior to 2008, the Republican candidate typically drew out a 35% turnout rate. If Trump capitalizes on a turnout rate of 35% and gets a high percentage of republicans to vote for the party, he has a very good chance of winning. While Biden’s best move may be to convince some of the independents to move over to his column.
At the end of the day, early voting is not telling us much, and while we can assume that the high majority of the votes are remaining within their party. We also know that the current voter turnouts counts are likely to normalize in the days ahead, and that means predicting the race at this point is nearly impossible.
Next week, I will predict who will win.
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