Will progressives stay home? (Part two)
I want to supplement my earlier post on turnout models with some shrewd observations by others.
Scott Keeter, the director of Survey Research for the Pew Research Center, who kindly provided the chart I used comparing registered and likely voters, wrote an excellent essay for Pew recently called "The Party of Non-Voters" that I ran across after I put up my post. It's worth reading the whole thing, but it's striking the extent to which those who now look less likely to vote (at least according to the polls) are more progressive than those most likely to cast ballots. For example:
Fewer nonvoters than voters describe their own political philosophy as conservative (31% for nonvoters, 46% for voters).
And while 52% of nonvoters express a preference for a bigger government providing more services, most likely voters (61%) prefer a smaller government providing fewer services.
Nonvoters are slightly less supportive of the decision to go to war in Afghanistan, with 47% calling it the right decision compared with 58% among likely voters.
A somewhat larger difference exists on gun control: most nonvoters (57%) say it is more important to control gun ownership; by contrast, most voters (55%) say it is more important to protect the rights of gun owners.
And it's been brought to my attention that Ed Kilgore, who writes smart analysis at The Democratic Strategist, was one of the very first people to discuss the idea of two electorates, one for presidential elections, the other for midterm elections.
In July, he wrote about "the very different demographic composition of midterm versus presidential electorates, which is especially important this year, given the high correlation of the 2008 vote with age (at least among white voters), and the heavy shift towards older voters in midterms." He added: "As I like to say, this means that Democrats were in trouble for the midterms the very day after the 2008 elections. That doesn't mean everything that happened since doesn't matter, by any means, but it does suggest pessimism about 2010 and a corresponding optimism about 2012, when the 2008 turnout patterns are likely to reemerge or even intensify."
An interesting warning about reading too much from the results tomorrow, whatever they are, into 2012.
| November 1, 2010; 5:14 PM ET
Categories: Dionne | Tags: E.J. Dionne
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