Need a Little Help Here Blue

umpireI think the conventional wisdom that Republicans win low turnout elections is inaccurate but I can’t make the call due the lack of convincing data.

In baseball, umpires have only one name – Blue.

Manager wants a mound visit? “Time, blue…” Blue says, “TIME!”

For this post – You Are the Umpire. You’re Blue. You make the call because I sure as heck can’t make it and I have been looking at the statewide numbers from 1976 to 2012 all afternoon. Nap not included.

I just don’t see the correlation to low turnout, or turnout in general, helping or hurting a campaign. You can check out the State Board of Elections site yourself but here are the numbers from 1976 to 2012.

Note – Motor Voter Registration signed into law in 1996.

Presidential Race winners and turnout percentage

1976 Ford – 80.8
1980 Reagan – 81.4
1984 Reagan – 81.5
1988 Bush – 77.6
1992 Bush – 84.5
1996 Dole – 74.3
2000 Bush 68.5
2004 Bush 71.4
2008 Obama 74.5
2012 Obama 71.78

Remember the conventional wisdom is that the GOP wins with lower turnout. If anything the downward trend in turnout says the opposite but that would be difficult to judge based on the last two cycles.

But the percentage turnout for Virginia presidential elections is down while raw votes totals have gone up from 1.7 MM in 1976 to 3.9 MM in 2012.

Okay, now Virginia Gubernatorial races since 1977 and turnout.

1977 Dalton – 62.7
1981 Robb – 64.8
1985 Baliles – 53
1989 Wilder – 66.5
1993 Allen – 61.1
1997 Gilmore – 49.5
2001 Warner – 46.4
2005 Kaine – 45.0
2009 McDonnell – 40.4

You be the judge, but I just can’t see any trend other than turnout percentages, overall, are heading down.

Clearly, Motor Voter helped move the both races down after 1996 with the presidential picking back up in 2004.

The George Allen – Jim Webb US Senate race posted a 52.7%, but that race was tick tight and had national implications.

Can you find a trend other than he who runs the better race and gives people something to vote for – wins?

Need a little help, Blue.

Make the call.

(Cross-posted at Chris