Trump expected to produce another big midterm election turnout

Four years after voters set a modern turnout record in the midterm elections, they appear poised to do so again.

Or at least come close.

The most recent NBC News poll, consistent with other polls, found that 64% of respondents had a high interest in voting in the Nov. 8 election and a “9” or “10” out of a 10 -Scale registered. That’s more than the poll at the same time in 2018, when 114 million voters cast their ballots in the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1914.

The 2020 election also broke a modern record when two-thirds of eligible voters turned out to vote. That was the highest percentage in more than a century.

To be clear, it’s a relative thing.

We’re not talking about the frenzy around the Dodgers World Series Drive or the rush to see Harry Styles at a concert. If a third of their seats remained unsold, it would be embarrassing. But in the world of politics — where a 50 percent voter turnout in 2018 caused eye tears — the excitement surrounding the Midterms is a pretty big deal.

There are several reasons for this increased engagement, none of them particularly happy or healthy.

Voters are deeply concerned and dissatisfied. The rift between the two major parties has widened, and relations between their supporters have become increasingly hostile.

And there’s the presence of sulking former President Trump, who despite his reluctant departure from the White House continues to play an unusually large role in the political landscape.

Given the events of the past two years – an insurgent raid on the US Capitol; a Supreme Court decision ending the constitutional right to abortion; the highest inflation in decades – it’s no surprise that polls are finding voters with particular urgency about this election.

Two out of three registered voters polled by NBC News said they felt it was more important than previous midterm campaigns, a sentiment shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. Three-fourths of registered Democrats polled said they were almost certain to vote, compared to about 80% of Republicans; This high level of democratic interest gives the party hope that November 8th will not lead to the mid-term beating that believers have long feared.

Of course, people have different reasons for voting. Some consider it their duty as a decent citizen. Others, strongly committed to a party or political cause, strive to make their voices heard, or at least try to prevent the other side from seizing power.

For many, it comes down to deciding if it’s worth the time and effort. If things are going great or even basically fine, why would anyone bother to vote? Satisfaction has never been a great motivator. Therefore, as voter turnout expert Michael McDonald explained: “If you look at the broader arc of history, moments when we see high voter turnout are moments when there is dissatisfaction with the country.”

“When it seems like the stakes are high, when there are real consequences and an election really matters, people are more likely to vote,” said McDonald, who teaches political science at the University of Florida.

With just 30% of voters saying things are on track, it’s no wonder forecasters are predicting robust turnout in November.

Voters are also more likely to vote when they see a significant difference between the running candidates, which is certainly the case in this election. Whether it Abortion, immigration or school curriculum, the divergence between an average Democrat and Republican is stark.

“People who might have said before, ‘Well the parties are Tweedledum and Tweedledee, I don’t see that there’s a lot of reasons to vote,’ are now quite convinced that there’s a reason to vote,” he said Donald Green, a Columbia University political scientist co-author of the book Get Out the Vote on voter turnout.

“The parties are more ideological than they’ve been in a long time,” Green said.

Last but not least, there is the Trump factor.

Since gliding down that golden escalator in June 2015 to launch his sweeping bid for President, Trump has been ingrained in the nation’s consciousness.

As he smashed political and civic norms like broken glass under his heel, Trump became an unmatched driver of turnout, persuading supporters and opponents alike to flood the polling stations.

Voter turnout increased in 2016, 2018 and really increased in 2020. “The central number of all [three] of these elections,” noted Tony Fabrizio, a pollster for Trump’s reelection campaign, “was Donald Trump.”

Since falling from power, the former President’s assault on the truth and the institutions that gird American democracy is a dangerous and frightening witness.

But give credit where it is due. He also made voting great again.

And apparently more vital than ever.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-09-28/2022-midterm-election-high-voter-turnout-expected Trump expected to produce another big midterm election turnout

Alley Einstein

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