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LOW TURNOUT DOESN’T EXPLAIN DEMOCRATIC FAILURE

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Democrats attempt to explain their dismal performance in the recent elections by emphasizing the low turnout – only 36.6% of eligible voters. But the truth is that this turnout is typical of midterm elections over the last forty years.  Turnout in each of those eleven cycles since 1974 has been very similar – above 36% and below 40%, and in three of them it was below the figures for 2014. The last time the Democrats swept a midterm election was 2006, with turnout of 37.1%– only marginally higher than the turnout this November. Amazingly, in 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, turnout soared all the way to 48.4%, and Republicans gained 47 seats in the House! Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, GOP success doesn’t depend on low turnout, and high turnout hardly guarantees that Democrats will win.

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  1. John D  •  Nov 12, 2014 at 10:36 am

    What’s the source for these numbers? According to the Census Bureau, turnout in 2006 and 1994 was 48% of the population eligible to vote.

    That’s according to this report, anyway:
    http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p20-557.pdf

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