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The 2018 Elections Saw Record Midterm Turnout

The 2018 Elections Saw Record Midterm Turnout

The Nov. 6 elections had the highest number of votes in a non-presidential election in U.S. history

highest total for a non-presidential election in U.S. history and the highest voter participation rate in a midterm election in at least 50 years.’ data-reactid=”23″>The midterms were massive in both raw vote totals and participation rates. According to the Associated Press, an estimated 113 million Americans went to the polls Nov. 6, the highest total for a non-presidential election in U.S. history and the highest voter participation rate in a midterm election in at least 50 years.

was less than 37%. Much of the gain was due to mobilization among Democrats, whose supporters often vote at lower rates in midterm elections than in presidential years. But Republican turnout climbed as well.’ data-reactid=”27″>The total number of votes jumped 30 million from the last midterm election in 2014, when voter turnout was less than 37%. Much of the gain was due to mobilization among Democrats, whose supporters often vote at lower rates in midterm elections than in presidential years. But Republican turnout climbed as well.

“Yes, there was a blue wave, but the red wave from 2010 and 2014 really didn’t dissipate either,” McDonald said. “And so that’s how we get these really close outcomes in some of the states.”

Exit polls can be flawed, but they suggest Latinos, who lean toward Democrats, made up 11% of House voters in 2018, versus 8% in 2014, according to CNN exit polls, while 35% of respondents were white men (who tend to vote Republican), down slightly from 37% in 2014. Voters without college degrees made up 59% of CNN’s House election respondents in 2018, up from 49% in 2014.’ data-reactid=”30″>Part of the reason turnout was up Nov. 6 was that Democratic-leaning demographic groups that sometimes skip midterm elections showed up. Exit polls can be flawed, but they suggest Latinos, who lean toward Democrats, made up 11% of House voters in 2018, versus 8% in 2014, according to CNN exit polls, while 35% of respondents were white men (who tend to vote Republican), down slightly from 37% in 2014. Voters without college degrees made up 59% of CNN’s House election respondents in 2018, up from 49% in 2014.

Voter participation rates in midterm elections have historically spiked in the midst of substantial political events. The last two midterms to feature participation rates near or above 50% were 1914, the year World War I began, and 1966, during the Civil Rights movement.

McDonald suggests the spike this year is to due to the presence of the President, even though he wasn’t on the ballot. Trump “inflames passion for and against him,” McDonald said. “What we’re witnessing right now is like similar points in time when we had major upheavals in our politics.”

Michael Cornfield, a political scientist at George Washington University, came to a similar conclusion. “Nothing like a presidential scandal (or multiple scandals) to gin up those seeking a Congressional check on White House power,” Cornfield wrote in an email to TIME.


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