Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Latest data are a problem for Sanders

Any way you cut it, the latest numbers are not good for Bernie. (And remember I like Bernie for his progressive ideals so I do not like the numbers. But they are what they are. Please don't shoot the messenger!)

Two reports have analyses of the voting in three primaries thus far. First is the observation that the Democratic voter turnout in 2016 is lower than in 2008 - not a good thing for Sanders. Second is the pattern of voting by those Dems who back Obama's policies winning (for Clinton) over those who want a shift to the left.

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reports on the low Democratic voter turnout.

Sanders himself said it: "We did not do as good a job as I had wanted to bring out a large turnout."

... so far, in 2016 contests, Republicans have broken turnout records in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, while Democratic turnout has gone down, not up, since the party’s last competitive cycle.

In the 2008 Democratic caucuses in Nevada – the first year the contest existed in earnest – turnout was roughly 120,000 voters. On Saturday, it appears turnout reached about 80,000 people, which represented a cycle-to-cycle drop of around 33%.

In Iowa, Democratic turnout went from roughly 236,000 in 2008 to about 171,000 this year, which works out to a 25% drop, while in New Hampshire, Democratic turnout went from about 288,000 in 2008 to roughly 251,000 this year, which is a drop of around 13%.

So a key part of Sanders' strategy is not working. A question is whether these numbers will be predictive of the other states' primary turnout.

More fundamentally, this dismal showing of Democratic voters is really bad news for chances of keeping the White House in November regardless of which Democratic candidate get the nomination.

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) reports on the pattern showing voters favoring continuance of Obama's policies.

In Nevada, more voters wanted to “generally continue Barack Obama’s policies” than wanted to “change to more liberal policies” by a 50-41 margin. Clinton won among that former group, by 75-22, while Sanders won among the latter group by 77-21.

A pattern is emerging: In Iowa, New Hampshire, and now Nevada, the data suggest that Clinton won overwhelmingly among those voters who want to continue Obama’s policies, while Sanders won overwhelmingly among those who want a decisive break from them in a more liberal direction. ...

Who gets the nomination is important to individual Dems, but that may be the least of any of our worries given the voter turnout numbers.

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