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More Evidence Suggesting a High Turnout Election

Reported registration levels are the highest they've been since 1960-64. Most of this increased registration level is attributable to increased registration in the battleground states. Here's Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate on the likelihood of increased turnout this year:

There is reason to believe that this year's increased registration, coupled with heightened voter interest and intense feelings generated by the 2004 election campaign, will produce substantially higher turnout this year.

Speaking as an old turnout hand, Gans is usually right in this area, so I'd put considerable stock in this assessment.

Another piece of evidence: early voting is going through the roof. On to election day.

Comments

Gans in previous years has been a debunker of high-turnout predictions, as I recall. So it's good to see his thoughts on this year.

I'm glad to see Curtiz Gans quoted here. He is very reliable and a good, unbiased source for voter analysis.
All the results for higher turnout usually favor Dems. I'm glad many states have gone out of their way to make voting available on more than just one day (even if you are supposed to have a valid excuse for absentee voting in some states like VA). It only makes sense.

There's a better way than a survey to track early voting -- go to the secretaries of states themselves. You'll find that the rates are even higher (for the states for which I can find data, double the rate of 2000 a week before election day) than the NAES suggests.

Something that just struck me: Suppose Gallup -- whose likely voter model we sneer at -- were to suddenly revise its judgment on the composition of the electorate, based on Gans' oft-repeated observations? Would its LV model then be closer to reality? My thought is, perhaps not. The Gallup voter screen would probably operate in much the same way even while opening the window a bit wider -- that is to say, they'd let in more voters (getting to, say, 60%), but they'd still use the same criteria in deciding who's more and less likely. It seems to me that young and minority voters -- seemingly the basis of much of the increased turnout -- would still be be at the bottom of their pyramid, and still be the ones least likely to make the cut. What if the situation this year is, the least likely voters of all join the party, and (at least potentially) seeming sure-thing voters -- lifelong but disgusted Republicans -- stay home? Is there any model truly apt to yield the right numbers in that situation?

Tangential observation: is it posible this situation could also create a coattail effect? Coattails are, to me, a misnamed phenomenon: they imply that a president's numbers are so strong they drag along underdog down-ballot candidates to victory. This was certainly the case in 1964, but I've seen two landslide presidential re-elections since -- 1972 and 1984 -- where the wide margin did nothing whatever for Congressional candidates. On the other hand, I saw 1980, where Reagan got barely 50% of the national vote, but saw his party pick up 37 House seats and a slew in the Senate. It strikes that what 1964 and 1980 had in common was a disgust on the part of the losing party with its candidate, resulting in poor turnout for that party and thus an unusually tilted electorate. Is it possible we'll get the same next Tuesday, with young and minority voters not only turning out at unexpected levels, bu representing a higher percentage of the total electorate than could otherwise be expected, because a small number of Republicans simply decide their guy's worthless and stay home? Suddenly, every Dem candidate within range could find him/herself over the top, and the Congressional numbers could shift to a startling degree.


Did you notice the 8 point party ID registration
advantage for Democrats? That's TWICE what it
was in 2000. Combine that with the Democracy Corps poll which showed Kerry with only 1 percent
less support among D's than Bush has among R's,
and with the energized left...well, I guess we'll see.

Given that the Democratic campaign has upped the early voting in its favor, then wouldn't the exit polls show a favorable number of Bush voters on the election day itself in a number of key battleground states? Couldn't this be used to "spin" the exit polls for the Republicans?