Early signs that Democratic turnout may sag in 2016


In my Wall Street Journal article on polling last Thursday, I made the point that one thing pollsters have trouble projecting is turnout. And the key fact about turnout in this decade is that it has been going down — despite all the talk about how vast surges of non-whites and Millennials into the electorate will produce a "death spiral" for Republicans.

Turnout in 2012 was lower than in 2008, turnout in 2014 was lower than in 2010, and in both cases turnout was down particularly among Democrats. Barack Obama received 3.5 million fewer votes in 2012 than 2008, but that was enough to win because Mitt Romney received only 1 million more than John McCain.

What will turnout be in 2016? Will Democratic turnout surge this time, unlike 2012? In recent news stories I find clues suggesting that the answer will be no.

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