Patrick Ruffini of the GOP polling/analytics firm, Echelon Insights, has this to say about emerging turnout patterns relevant to the 2018 election. Ruffini is an excellent analyst who sticks close to the data; his views are well-worth paying attention to.
* Turnout among Dems is up. It’s way up amongst whites with a college degree, and up still higher amongst women in that group. With the most energized voters it looks like the midpoint between a midterm and a presidential. GOP turnout looks... exactly like 2014 (when they won).”
* GOP turnout isn’t low. It’s Dem turnout that’s high. And that’s what makes the difference.”
* Usually in midterms there is a turnout drop off with 1) younger voters and 2) non-college educated voters. The dropoff with #1 favored the GOP. The dropoff with #2 didn’t matter, until 2016, and now it could hurt the GOP. The Obama-Trump voter still exists but may not show up.”
* Because of partisan shifts within the electorate, a wider electorate may actually help Republicans and turnout dropoffs hurt them given a super-energized college grad vote.”
* The underlying shift due to persuasion need not be that great for the GOP to get walloped on turnout only. Education dropoff will matter a lot this year, and age dropoff may not matter as much given higher Dem-specific turnout.”
* Moving from a 2018 electorate to a 2020 electorate may help Trump on balance, even with higher younger turnout. Obama-Trump voters more likely to show up. The college educated minority can’t throw its weight around as much.”
* On younger voters: Turnout increases are always disproportionately concentrated among the young because seniors are pretty much perfect midterm & presidential voters. Their scores go way up.”
* Hence the idea that the turnout gap to watch is on college education, not age”
Ruffini adds some additional thoughts given this week’s Florida primary...
* If there’s any state you’d expect to be more immune from a Dem surge it’d be Florida: Seniors, heavily minority, and no significant college white dominated population centers.”
* In past cycles, California was immune to the wave. Could it be Florida this year?”
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