Turnout Projections: Malaise?

 

With election day just two weeks away, I was somewhat startled to realize this morning just how quiet things seem. I am seeing far fewer road signs, for example, and hardly any fliers in my snail-mailbox — contrary to past years, including midterm elections. Among co-workers and friends, a few are talking about the various crises (Ebola, ISIS, and so forth), but no one is really talking about the election. My observations are purely anecdotal, of course, but there just seems to be a general lack of intensity when it comes to the upcoming vote. In my very red state, the energy level looks nothing like 2010. I can’t help but to think that we’re looking at a real potential for low turnout this year across the board.

Is it crisis fatigue? Is it Obama fatigue, and knowing that 2016 is still pretty far away? Is it a growing sense that it doesn’t matter who gets into office; that things are mucked up now and will stay mucked up for the foreseeable future?

From my view, although she is not on the ballot this year, Hillary Clinton may have inadvertently coined the slogan that best captures the current national mood on these elections: “What difference does it make?”

Let me tell you, it is taking a significant act of will for me to refuse to give in to that malaise. Some days are better than others. Today is not one of the better ones.

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  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The Republicans aren’t putting forward any sort of coordinated effort to make the election about anything in particular. Candidates are all running on their own merits. Therefore, how much interest there is in the election will depend entirely on the activities of your local candidates.

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    It’s the press, I think.

    Interesting story here in Blue Massachusetts.  Our elections are generally lackluster in terms of turnout. But when Romney ran the first time, it engendered a lot of press. Ergo a heavy turnout. And when he won, the press and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) were horrified.

    After that the Democratic Party stopped taking its grip on Massachusetts for granted, and the party started spending billions here. (The money spent by the Democratic Party during the Scott Brown election was huge. When he won, you know what they were thinking: “That will be the last time a Republican wins in Massachusetts.” So they doubled it, and the next time he lost. No surprise. The money goes to creating fear among the faithful.)

    I knew Romney was a credible contender for the White House early on because of the money the Democrats were spending here.

    The Democratic Party dollars translate into media buys. The more media attention to elections, the greater the turnout.  It’s like clockwork.

    For the last few years, the MSM has been quiet in their effort to protect Obama. They are very protective of him. It is weird to listen to them. And Obama isn’t out there much talking to the American people. So it’s a good fit.

    But that’s good news because the less money the Democrats spend, the lower the temperature goes on the election generally. And that’s always good news for conservatives trying to be heard.

    • #2
  3. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    MarciN:But that’s good news because the less money the Democrats spend, the lower the temperature goes on the election generally. And that’s always good news for conservatives trying to be heard.

    Actually, it is the conservative turnout I wonder about.

    Misthiocracy:The Republicans aren’t putting forward any sort of coordinated effort to make the election about anything in particular. Candidates are all running on their own merits. Therefore, how much interest there is in the election will depend entirely on the activities of your local candidates.

    This can be good or bad.  Good, because there is no sense in nationalizing your local election for county coroner.  Bad, because sadly, turnout requires at least one of the following:  1) a high profile “local” issue that gets people to the polls, or 2) some sort of national imperative.  You would think we have enough of the second, given the “wrong track” numbers out there.  But that doesn’t jive with the apathy I’m sensing.  I hope I am wrong about that.

    Or maybe I’m just projecting my own apathy, knowing that little is likely to change before 2016.  But one thing is clear, and should steel the mind and the backbone:  you don’t get the Senate in 2014, you sure as heck won’t get it in 2016.

    • #3
  4. Tuck Member
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    I live in a blue town in a blue state.  My wife asked me yesterday why there were no signs out for Democrats.

    Maybe they just haven’t gotten to it yet?

    • #4
  5. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Tuck:I live in a blue town in a blue state. My wife asked me yesterday why there were no signs out for Democrats.

    Maybe they just haven’t gotten to it yet?

    In my state, you identify Democratic candidates by the fact that they don’t advertise their party identification on their materials.

    • #5
  6. Mr. Dart Member
    Mr. Dart
    @MrDart

    We don’t live in North Carolina but we do live in the Charlotte, NC media market.  If you aren’t seeing much political advertising in your area it may be because both Republicans and Democrats are spending record amounts in NC.

    We don’t watch much local TV but when we do tune in a Charlotte channel– like to watch Brother Sajak’s show– it’s overwhelming and revolting.  Nearly every ad is for the Tillis v. Hagan race.  It’s reported that a record $10 Million will be spent on the NC Senate race.  Of that amount I assure you the vast majority is relentlessly negative.  Apparently Thom Tillis hates women and children while Kay Hagan hates the troops but adores Obama, Obamacare, Obama some more, and Obama’s dithering about ISIS.  At least that’s what I hear. MUTE!

    Here in our corner of South Carolina everyone knows that Haley, Scott, Graham, and Mulvaney will win handily but still there are signs up for all of them plus the school board elections and other issues close to home.

    As for me, I have a bit of the malaise you write about.  I haven’t voted for a Democrat for anything since the 1970’s but the national Republicans clearly don’t like me much.  They want my vote, sure, but they’ve made it clear that they don’t like me.  Still, I’ll be happy to vote for Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and Mick Mulvaney and there are local issues I care about as well.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I’m turning out for Joni Ernst. She’s pretty good, though, this being Iowa, she’s pro-ethanol (go figure). Branstad is fine too.

    On the other hand, I know people in Kentucky who wouldn’t vote for McConnel if you put a gun to their heads. Stuff like that worries me. Gleefully cackling that he “crushed the Tea Party” probably cost him a couple of hundred thousand votes. I hope for the country’s sake he doesn’t need them.

    • #7
  8. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    We’ve got the same dynamic here in Wisconsin Jim Chase. Intensity on both sides has seemed to drop off since 2012.

    To follow the polling, it appears to be a real close one (I can’t believe it but there it is). Definitely looks like base vs. base. I really don’t know who is more motivated.

    Oddly enough, though the gov’t employees hate Walker, I don’t think they’re that crazy about Burke – she’s not going to undo Act 10 and they know it. I’m finding the squishy urban soccer-mom types to be her biggest supporters. Don’t think they account for that much of the electorate.

    I have no idea if our Voter ID legislation being stopped by SCOTUS will have an impact (the local media are sure to make everyone know they don’t need ID now!).

    Don’t know if the African American vote will come out or not though I’ve seen a fair number of signage in those neighborhoods.

    Also not sure how PO’d or scared our side is. I think we’re better informed but don’t know if that translates into votes. On this, the national news and Obama’s ineptness work in our favor.

    As I stated earlier, I have no idea what is going to happen.

    • #8
  9. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Here in Kentucky every other commercial and news article is about McConnell or Grimes. It is enough to drive one mad. Add to that that there is a very credible chance that the Republicans may take control of Kentucky’s House of Representatives for the first time since 1921 and the fight is on and the Dems are throwing mud like no tomorrow.

    • #9
  10. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    WI Con:We’ve got the same dynamic here in Wisconsin Jim Chase. Intensity on both sides has seemed to drop off since 2012.

    To follow the polling, it appears to be a real close one (I can’t believe it but there it is). Definitely looks like base vs. base. I really don’t know who is more motivated.


    Also not sure how PO’d or scared our side is. I think we’re better informed but don’t know if that translates into votes. On this, the national news and Obama’s ineptness work in our favor.

    As I stated earlier, I have no idea what is going to happen.

    This surprises me, especially with Walker as a factor.  NC and Kentucky have hot races, but then again, those have been nationalized to an extent and have some distinct state dynamics (as FJG posts).  I would have thought Wisconsin would be similar in intensity.  Interesting.

    • #10
  11. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Uncomfortably Numb.

    • #11
  12. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    We are overwhelmed with Foley and Malloy ads here for the CT Governor’s race.  Malloy has polled over 43% once, so he’s in deep doo-doo. He has no accomplishments to point to, so every ad is essentially “Foley is a rich guy who closed factories, just like Romney.” Not sure it’s gonna work.

    BTW, Foley seems to have a pretty decent lawn sign operation, though I live in a relatively Red part of the state.

    • #12
  13. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    I’m in the SF Bay Area and we generally see very little in the way of yard signs and such because there is never anything competitive.  The occasional proposition will garner attention but seldom is there a competitive personal race.

    We did see lots and lots of Obummer stickers in ’08 but I just wrote that off as poseurs wanting to be seen as doing the “right” thing.

    This is a one party state — you be hard to pressed to find anyone that could even name a Republican candidate in any race.

    • #13
  14. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    Curious Kevmo-“I’m in the SF Bay Area and we generally see very little in the way of yard signs and such because there is never anything competitive.”

    To rephrase CK- I’m in New Jersey etc…

    Recently, while I was on an Australian website, I saw a political ad that assumed I lived in the nearby Republican county of Burlington, though I live in solidly Democratic Camden County.

    A coworker I had assumed to be apolitical grew angry Saturday when I told him I was a Republican. (Sighs)

    • #14
  15. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    TeamAmerica: A coworker I had assumed to be apolitical grew angry Saturday when I told him I was a Republican. (Sighs)

    Yup.  Had a personal trainer that let slip one day that she’d never even speak to someone that voted Republican or watched Fox News.  I guess she just assumed it was safe to say that.  She is no longer my personal trainer.

    • #15
  16. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    CuriousKevmo:

    TeamAmerica: A coworker I had assumed to be apolitical grew angry Saturday when I told him I was a Republican. (Sighs)

    Yup. Had a personal trainer that let slip one day that she’d never even speak to someone that voted Republican or watched Fox News. I guess she just assumed it was safe to say that. She is no longer my personal trainer.

    Should’ve told her…you would’ve gotten the workout of your life.

    • #16
  17. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Perhaps there were more Wackobirds and Hobbits than presumed.

    • #17
  18. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    It is easy to see why there is no excitement. We have nothing to vote for and only folks and policies to vote against. The Republicans chose to run as the part that was not associated with Barack Obama. If they do not get a landslide, it is their own damned fault.

    • #18
  19. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    In the deep blue state of Maryland we had the brethern start walking out early on Obama at a love fest in the heart of his base in Prince Georges Country just outside the DC beltway. Lt Gov Brown is polling about 5 ahead of Hogan in the Governer’s race. I wondered why he asked the President to come at all, he should be a lock. I wonder if is internal polling is not so rosey. Even if Hogan wins I am sure the state senate will do every thing it can to thwart his agenda. This state is fiscally doomed if federal spending ever take a dive.

    • #19
  20. Palaeologus Member
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    Paul A. Rahe:It is easy to see why there is no excitement. We have nothing to vote for and only folks and policies to vote against. The Republicans chose to run as the part that was not associated with Barack Obama. If they do not get a landslide, it is their own damned fault.

    Yes and no. It seems to me that the broader Right is split regarding policy.

    In 2010, it was all well and good to yell “Enough with the frickin’ spending and Federal micromanagement already!” Eventually though, the question becomes what are we going to do about it?

    There’s not much consensus around significant policy items that can be turned into an obviously coherent, positive, national narrative. Energy policy probably comes closest (and it’s not nothing, good jobs can be tied into it) but it isn’t taxes, welfare, immigration, crime, war, or education either.

    In other words, one major reason the GOP is only about opposing Barry is because that’s one of the few things about which the Republican/Conservative base broadly agrees.

    • #20
  21. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Palaeologus:

    Paul A. Rahe:It is easy to see why there is no excitement. We have nothing to vote for and only folks and policies to vote against. The Republicans chose to run as the part that was not associated with Barack Obama. If they do not get a landslide, it is their own damned fault.

    Yes and no. It seems to me that the broader Right is split regarding policy.

    In 2010, it was all well and good to yell “Enough with the frickin’ spending and Federal micromanagement already!” Eventually though, the question becomes what are we going to do about it?

    There’s not much consensus around significant policy items that can be turned into an obviously coherent, positive, national narrative. Energy policy probably comes closest (and it’s not nothing, good jobs can be tied into it) but it isn’t taxes, welfare, immigration, crime, war, or education either.

    In other words, one major reason the GOP is only about opposing Barry is because that’s one of the few things about which the Republican/Conservative base broadly agrees.

    So you would like to replace D big gov programs with R big gov programs?  “Cut spending” is not enough message?

    • #21
  22. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    CuriousKevmo: I’m in the SF Bay Area and we generally see very little in the way of yard signs and such because there is never anything competitive.  The occasional proposition will garner attention but seldom is there a competitive personal race.

    I’d agree with you except for the fact that CA adopted a “top 2” primary system recently.  As a result, both of the candidates for my Assembly district in this election are Democrats.

    Might actually be a close race for once.

    • #22
  23. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Joseph Stanko:

    CuriousKevmo: I’m in the SF Bay Area and we generally see very little in the way of yard signs and such because there is never anything competitive. The occasional proposition will garner attention but seldom is there a competitive personal race.

    I’d agree with you except for the fact that CA adopted a “top 2″ primary system recently. As a result, both of the candidates for my Assembly district in this election are Democrats.

    Might actually be a close race for once.

    Ah, but is it really a “choice”?  Although I can’t say much.  It is quite common around here, at least in local races, to have candidates run unopposed when the scales are heavily tilted toward one party or the other.

    • #23
  24. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Palaeologus:In other words, one major reason the GOP is only about opposing Barry is because that’s one of the few things about which the Republican/Conservative base broadly agrees.

    Which is exactly why I wonder/worry about the GOP turnout.  Because the intensity of this position alone seems woefully insufficient as compared to a few years ago.  The Republicans might take the Senate, but they may have to count on low Democratic turnout, because I just don’t see the energy in their own base anymore.

    • #24
  25. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Joseph Stanko:

    CuriousKevmo: I’m in the SF Bay Area and we generally see very little in the way of yard signs and such because there is never anything competitive. The occasional proposition will garner attention but seldom is there a competitive personal race.

    I’d agree with you except for the fact that CA adopted a “top 2″ primary system recently. As a result, both of the candidates for my Assembly district in this election are Democrats.

    Might actually be a close race for once.

    Close sure….but….

    I haven’t seen the effect of this in my ‘hood yet.

    • #25
  26. CuriousKevmo Member
    CuriousKevmo
    @CuriousKevmo

    Jim Chase:

    Palaeologus:In other words, one major reason the GOP is only about opposing Barry is because that’s one of the few things about which the Republican/Conservative base broadly agrees.

    Which is exactly why I wonder/worry about the GOP turnout. Because the intensity of this position alone seems woefully insufficient as compared to a few years ago. The Republicans might take the Senate, but they may have to count on low Democratic turnout, because I just don’t see the energy in their own base anymore.

    I was once a very motivated voter but I’ve become less so each election.  At this point, given where I live, I’m not sure I care because I cannot remember the last time I was on the winning side of any vote.  And any more it isn’t really the winning side so much as the side that sucks less.

    Back during the 2000 election season I recall a Libertarian radio personality saying “the train is headed for the cliff….the Democrats drive it at 100 mph, the Republicans at 70 mph….either way, the train is heading over the cliff quickly”.

    The is the only thing that has kept me voting….at least at 70 we have more time to stop the train.  I no longer feel like we can stop the train.

    • #26

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