Sunday, January 8, 2017

Why GOTV matters

The stories from Election 2016 mainly focused on the two candidates, for instances, the media’s incessant nagging about Hillary’s “damn emails” and the media’s gift of a billion dollars or so to The Donald in the form of free advertising. But, as I have said before, I think the more important stories are to be found in what the voters did and why. Here is one such story.

The Daily Kos has this piece, 538: Registered Dems in key demos who didn’t vote hurt Clinton, flipped result based on reporting by FiveThirtyEight.

Interesting piece up on FiveThirtyEight this morning by Harry Enten:

Registered Voters Who Stayed Home Probably Cost Clinton The Election

The article suggests that registered Democrats in key demographic groups where Dems typically roll up huge numbers and margins opted to stay home and were a significant factor in Clinton’s loss. (As noted many times here, there were dozens of factors involved in her loss.)

Registered voters who didn’t vote on Election Day in November were more Democratic-leaning than the registered voters who turned out, according to a post-election poll from SurveyMonkey, shared with FiveThirtyEight. In fact, Donald Trump probably would have lost to Hillary Clinton had Republican- and Democratic-leaning registered voters cast ballots at equal rates.

Registered voters who identified as Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to stay home. Given how closely party identification tracks with vote choice, the disparity in turnout probably cost Clinton the election.

So among registered Democrats, who didn’t turn out?

Non-white and Hispanic Americans were more likely to stay home than white voters.

Of all voters who cast a ballot in the general election, 25 percent were black, Hispanic, Asian, or a member of another minority group. But those voters were 42 percent of those who didn’t vote. Drilling down a little further, black voters made up 11 percent of voters who cast a ballot and 19 percent who didn’t. This disparity really hurt Clinton because black voters (by 82 percentage points) and Hispanic voters (by 40 percentage points) overwhelmingly favored her, while white voters went for Trump by a 16-point margin in the SurveyMonkey poll.

The turnout rate for black voters was substantially higher in 2012, the last time Barack Obama was on the ballot. According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey,3 black Americans made up 13 percent of voters and only 9 percent of registered non-voters in 2012. In other words, black voters actually made up a larger percentage of voters who cast a ballot than those who didn’t in 2012, which is the opposite of what occurred last year. Whites, on the other hand, made up about the same percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot (74 percent) and those who didn’t (73 percent). The higher number of black non-voters in 2016 probably had a big impact.

Younger non-voters were an additional contributing factor:

Younger voters were more likely to stay home than older voters.

More harmful for Clinton was which young voters stayed home: minorities. Among white voters, voters 18–29 years old made up 30 percent of voters who did not participate in the November election. Among young Hispanic voters, that climbs to 43 percent. Among young black voters, it was an even higher 46 percent. That generally matches the findings of the voter data released in some Southern states showing that young black voters were especially likely to stay home in this election. Younger black voters were far more likely to support Bernie Sanders in the primary, suggesting that there simply was not the enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy as there was for Obama’s in 2012. Clinton’s favorable rating, for instance, was about 10 percentage points lower among the youngest black voters compared to the oldest black voters in the SurveyMonkey poll.

(All emphases are in the Kos story.)

Obviously, the challenge for Democrats is how we flip those trends among those key demographic groups.

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