Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How Will Voter Turnout Be This Election?

It’s election year and the candidates have not failed to dominate the news. People are still trying to figure out who to vote for or if they should vote at all. I know plenty of people who say they would not vote for any of the candidates they have seen. Many people feel as though it won’t make a difference if they vote. Some are just too lazy to register, so even though we see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton everywhere and the election is a common conversation topic among many, this election is “probably going to have the lowest-turnout election [nationally] since 1942” according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist who specializes in voter turnout.

In the past two elections large groups of people were passionate about one or two candidates. When Obama ran black women had a larger voter turnout than any other group. 98 percent of the black women who voted, voted for Obama. It is probable that voter turnout for black women is going to drop. Women are not all gravitating toward Hillary as she hoped, and many of the young adults seem to be interested in Bernie Sanders who would decrease adult democratic voter turnout dramatically if chosen in the primaries. Overall there is no candidate who seems to be dramatically raising the voter turnout for a group like Obama did in the past two elections. We will have to see what happens in the general elections when more people start getting behind a candidate.

1. What do you think could bring voter turnout up?
2. How do you think voter turnout is going to be this election?


Anonymous said...

Interesting post Jessica! I have to disagree with Michael McDonalds prediction that this election will result in the lowest voter turnout since 1942. The candidates who will most likely run against each other in the 2016 election will be Trump who currently has a 34.8% poll rating and Clinton with a 51.2% poll rating. These candidates have most definitely changed the stereotype for competing candidates. Today, we have a strong, confident woman who is running against a non-politican and bussinessman. If anything, the voter turnout will increase significantly. People will be very passionate about this election due to the fact that some people will do everything to avoid Trump from being elected President or Hillary as President. Due to the amount of media coverage that both campaigns have been receiving as well as endorsements such as Sarah Palin with Trump, people have taken very strict sides overtime. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the 2016 election and am curious to see if Republicans fear Trumps inexperience. I wonder if Republicans who have this fear will vote Democratic or not vote at all. To me, just because the presidential debates have been so highly talked about and with high viewer ratings, I strongly believe that voter turnout will be high. I also think that the younger population more specifically will have the highest voter turnout in history just because the candidates are candidates that we have not seen make it past the primaries. I am interested that you believe the opposite and cannot wait to see the election play out!


Emily Shen said...

Given the very extreme nature of some of the candidates, I believe that they are appealing to a part of the electorate that has recently not been courted. I read an article in the Atlantic a couple of weeks ago that explained why Trump is so appealing to a "silent majority" of Middle America. The author argues that it is actually these middle-class, white Americans who feel the most disenfranchised and alienated because of the current political agenda: "You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age...they do strongly feel that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back...Half of Trump’s supporters within the GOP had stopped their education at or before high-school graduation, according to the polling firm YouGov. Only 19 percent had a college or postcollege degree. Thirty-eight percent earned less than $50,000. Only 11 percent earned more than $100,000."

Huayu Ouyang said...

I agree with Juliana and Emily's comments that the voter turnout in this election won't necessarily decrease because Trump is appealing to many disaffected white working class voters. According to the Chicago Tribune, "the mortality rate for non-college-educated whites 45 to 54 years old increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014. By comparison, the death rate for middle-aged blacks and Hispanics continued to fall steadily during the same period, as did the death rates for younger and older people of all races and ethnic groups." This group of voters may feel resentful and betrayed by their country, and "Rod Dreher of The American Conservative calls them 'the dispossessed,' a group characterized by a strong sense that something owed to them has been taken away by today's elites." This is why outsiders such as Trump, Carson, and Fiorina have done better than people thought they would in the polls so far. On the Democratic side, Sanders also appeals to voters, especially young ones, who feel that the elites and the wealthy have too much power. I think that this appeal to young voters and disaffected voters on both sides will cause voter turnout to actually increase.