Monday, January 21, 2008

Nevada and South Carolina Turnout

Saturday's results add more evidence to the growing turnout disparity between Democrats and Republicans in this year's nomination contests. In Nevada, 120,000 Democrats showed up for the caucuses, outstripping estimates and far exceeding the 42,000 Republicans who attended the GOP caucuses. Some of this disparity is because Mitt Romney was the only GOP candidate who made much of an effort in Nevada, but not all.

In South Carolina, only the Republicans held a primary, but turnout there was down significantly from 2000. When George W. Bush beat John McCain that year, 573,000 Republicans voted, about 26 percent of the total registered voters (South Carolina's open primary allows voters of any party to participate). This year, GOP turnout was only 437,000, just under 20 percent of registered voters and a drop of 24 percent from 2000. Bad weather in parts of the state contributed to poor turnout, but it will interesting to compare GOP turnout with turnout in next Saturday's Democratic primary.

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