2020 is a Presidential Campaign, and 2018 was a Midterm, which makes them not fully comparable. However, when much was written about 2018 being “near Presidential level” turn-out, it is helpful to look at what actually happened in Broward County.
Turn Out Levels? Presidential or Midterm?
Both and neither. In August, the 23.8% turnout was enormous, 50% higher than in 2016 (16.9%), the Presidential year, and over double 2014’s 10.9% turn out. The last major increase in 2010 reverted back in 2012, so it is too soon to tell if this is a permanent change or a two year fluke. Indeed, in 2018 for November, turnout was 61%, not quite the 72% or 67% of the past two Presidential races, but significantly higher than the low 40s of the past 3 Midterms.
This raises the question, was this a fluke or do we not have a higher level of turnout. Has social media and SMS changed the turnout game for good? It will be determined by the turnout.
Hispanic Growth Exceeded Expectations
The growing levels of Hispanic turnout had reverted back slightly in 2014, which gave us reasons to wonder what would happen in 2018. Would 2018 continue the overall trend of Hispanics making up an additional 1% each cycle, or follow 2014’s trend of a drop in midterms and an increase in the next Presidential cycle.
Making up 12.13% of the Turnout, compared to 10.97% in 2016 and 7.41% in 2014 shows that Hispanic voting power continues to grow and expand. Hispanic voters did not maintain their voting power from the 2016 General Election, but they maintained a lot of it. No candidate in 2020 can ignore the Hispanic Vote and expect to win countywide races.
The Electorate Has Changed – Winners Take Note
The “super voter” theory of old white voters being the only people to vote in August is outdated. It hasn’t been true in several cycles, but conventional wisdom takes a while to change. Increased turnout, a more diverse community, and growing electorate means that historic voting patterns determining turnout simply ignores the last 3 elections of data.
Turnout percentage has been on an upswing while the eligible voters have increased. If you are still campaigning to the 2008 electorate, you are missing 60% of the voters that will turn out this August.