Possible Record-Breaking Voter Turnout for Midterm Elections

Tyra Hilliard
Staff Writer

News_tyra_voting record_Erik (HASH) Hersman, Flickr.jpg

PC: Erik Hersman

The midterm elections of 2018 have brought forth the highest voter turnout since the mid-1960s. Many believe these records are related to being in a time of social and cultural unrest.

“It’s probably going to be a turnout rate that most people have never experienced in their lives for a midterm election,” said Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who specializes in voter turnout and maintains a database tracking turnout.

McDonald has predicted that out of all eligible voters, between 45 to 50 percent of them will use their electoral voice. This is a feat that has not been achieved since 1966, when 49 percent of voters casted their midterm ballot.

McDonald has placed his expert predictions on the record turnouts of special elections, a record-high primary turnout and the degree of self-reported interest in special elections, as well as the levels of early voting. Even compared to 2014, early voter turnout is three times higher this year. All indicators seem to reveal a positive change in voting practices.

Under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson in the year 1966, Democrats were the bad apples of the public’s eye as bills on Medicare, voting rights and civil rights were being passed. In the end, Democrats lost 47 seats in the House of Representative and a total of 3 Senate seats, apparently “heralding the end of the New Deal coalition and the realignment of voters that will put Richard M. Nixon (R) in the White House in 1968,” as spoken by T.A. Frail at the Smithsonian.

Since World War II, the average amount of Americans with the power vote to vote is about 40 percent. However, presidential elections level out at around 70 percent. The lowest percentage appeared in 1942, when those who were eligible were fighting overseas.

The actions made by Trump this term have resulted in a peak level of interest for this year’s midterms. Frustrated women belonging to the Democratic party are out for political revenge as many Republicans remain by Trump’s side. This year’s midterms could give Democrats a chance to reinstate their control.

Other signs of an increase in voter turnout include tracking the number of candidates, increased primary election turnout, and overall interest and engagement. To date, more candidates have filed to run in 2018 than any time in the past. This record was reached by the number of Democrats that ran for office this year, most of them being women.

In terms of primary turnout, the Democrats take the cake as they saw an uptick of 78 percent in comparison to 2014.

Simultaneously, an early poll done by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist in the early part of October as well as an NBC and Wall Street Journal survey showed that the weakest part support system for the Democrats lay with people between the ages of 18 and 19, as well as Latinos.  These demographics were significantly less interested in politics than Republican supporters who were mainly white men and elderly voters. However, if McDonald’s predictions are correct, Democrats could dominate the 2018 midterm election.



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