2014 Midterm Elections and The Turnout Gap

As American citizens line up to vote today, the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post offer two windows on the midterm elections.

The Pew's "6 Facts About The Electorate On Midterm Day" presents a snapshot of the electorate, an overview of the mood and opinions of the general public and those who are likely to vote.  The Pew notes that voters appear pessimistic about the economy despite signs of recovery.  They're also disillusioned about President Obama and their Representatives in Congress.  Republicans are seen as the party that could do a better job on key issues, while Democrats are seen as the party more willing to work with the opposition and more concerned with "the needs of people like me."  If the Pew's analyses are correct, the voters most likely to turn out for the midterm elections are "Steadfast Conservatives (staunch critics of government), Business Conservatives (prefer limited government but more moderate on social issues) and Solid Liberals (solidly Democratic)."

The Washington Post gives us an interactive tool to visualize the midterm turnout gap -- the lower voter turnout in midterm elections compared with presidential election years.  The Washington Post notes that this trend "typically favors Republican candidates. Voters who fall into demographic groups that have traditionally been Democratic strongholds — young adults, African Americans and women — have wider turnout gaps than other groups, a challenge that Democratic candidates must negotiate every midterm election year."  The interactive tool allows users to track the turnout gap since 1996 for the entire electorate, as well as by gender, race, age, education, and marital status.

To access the interactive tool, please go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2014-midterms/turnout/

Read more:

TeachingwithData.org resources:
Voter Turnout in the United States: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3243)
Voting Behavior: The 2012 Election (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3920)
Frederique Laubepin

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