First estimates: Midterm voter turnout was down – way down

Lowest midterm turnout in over 30 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. - One last result from last Tuesday’s election just came in – voter turnout. It was way down.

According to the initial estimates from the United States Election Project, 36.3 percent of the voting-eligible population participated in the 2014 midterm elections. If those numbers hold up, that will be lowest turnout in a federal election since Election Day 1942. The country was kind of busy that day, what with a world war and everything.

In the 2012 general election, turnout was 58.2 percent.  Midterms always bring out fewer voters. Here’s the recent history of turnout in midterms:

As you can see, the decline this year is not trivial.

The top five states, according to these initial estimates, are

Maine             59.3%
Wisconsin      56.9%
Alaska            55.3%
Colorado        53.0%
Oregon           52.0%

The bottom five are:

Tennessee     29.1%
New York       28.8%
Utah               28.8%
Texas             28.5%
Indiana           28.0%

Compared to 2012, the electorate this year was older and whiter.  That is the top talking point in the Democratic post-game show: our voters turn out in general elections, not midterms, just you wait till 2016. Maybe.

The day after the election, President Obama said, ““[T]o everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”

I believe we’ve heard that before.

[Also by Dick Meyer: Obamacare challenge: Typo or court case?]

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