Having posted a column over at The Daily Caller  on Virginia’s curbed electoral enthusiasm in this year’s gubernatorial race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic Terry McAuliffe, here are the numbers behind the reasoning.
Raw Votes in past four cycles
1997 (Year of the No Car Tax Pledge Jim Gilmore wins over Don Beyer by 13 points) 1,764,476
2001 (Year of Mark Warner’s Tax Referendum for Northern Virginia, 9/11, and year one of George W. Bush’s tax cuts) 1,905, 511
2005 (Year of Tim Kaine v Jerry Kilgore on Death Penalty with Iraq War backdrop. Good economy) 2,000,052
2009 (Bob’s for Jobs. Bad Economy. McDonnell wins recount rematch with Creigh Deeds by over 17 points) 2,000,812
1997 – 49.5
2001 – 46.4
2005 – 45.0
2009 – 40.4
Presidential Turnout Percentages and Margin of Victory
1996 – 74.3 (Dole wins Virginia by 2)
2000 – 68.5 (Bush wins Virginia by 7)
2004 – 71.4 (Bush wins Virginia by 8)
2008 – 74.5 (Obama wins Virginia by 6)
2012 – 71.8 (Obama wins Virginia by 4)
Since 1996, Virginia has added over 2.2 million voters to the rolls with presidential turnout staying relatively stable compared to the obvious drop in gubernatorial races just one year later.
Raw votes have increased in presidential elections by over 1.4 million while the race for the Executive Mansion has increased only 234,000. That is a 57% increase for POTUS versus a 13% increase for GOVA.
The trend line for turnout in this year’s election cycle is what it is – heading down.
Since 2004, registrations dropped off after the presidential election heading into the next year’s race but less than 100,000. Warner’s and Gilmore’s cycles saw increases but nothing dramatic.
If 200,000 were to drop off and leave 5.2 million registered for this year and 200,000 more vote than 2009, turnout is then 42.3%. However, if the flat trend in raw vote hovers around 2 MM and registration is flat to the 2012 numbers, Virginia will turnout just 37% of her voters this year.
Splitting the difference? 39.65%
Start the office pool Over Under betting on turnout at 39.65.
Factor in the lack of enthusiasm throughout September and October and the betting line will lower the O/U to 37 by election day.