Skip to content
Search AI Powered

Latest Stories

Pew Just Compared Voter Turnout in 2018 With That of 2014, and Yep, Republicans Should Be Very Worried About November

Pew Just Compared Voter Turnout in 2018 With That of 2014, and Yep, Republicans Should Be Very Worried About November
Top Republican leaders—U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—hold a news briefing during the 2018 House & Senate Republican Member Conference February 1, 2018 at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)


In United States politics, voter apathy sometimes decides elections more than voter turnout. In the 2014 midterms, the lowest voter turnout since 1942 led to control of the House and Senate going to the GOP.

Midterm elections, those falling in the years between presidential elections, always see lower counts at the polls. But voter apathy in 2014 reached new levels.

Nationwide voter turnout in 2014 totaled just 36.4 percent, a drop of 40.9 percent since the 2010 midterms. But according to the latest numbers from the Pew Research Center, the 2018 midterms—slated for Tuesday, November 6, 2018—look to be a different story.

The compelling reasons drawing people to the polls this year over 2014? President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.

Unfortunately for both, voters do not appear headed to the polls to support them. So far through primary season, polling places drew more Democrats than Republicans.

Analyzing poll numbers through June 2018, Pew found 13.6 million people voted in Democratic House primaries. This compares to only 7.4 million in 2014. That translates to an 84 percent increase.

On the Republican side, 10.7 million voters turned out for GOP House primaries, compared to 8.6 million in 2014. While it represents an increase, it works out to only 24 percent.

Pew Research Center analysis of 2018 primary voter turnout through June (Pew/NBC News)

However, the GOP holds more incumbent seats in Congress. That fact alters the impact of lower Republican primary turnout slightly, but not enough.

And seats in uncontested races still saw higher Democratic numbers going to the polls.

In Iowa’s 2nd district, the Democrat and Republican both ran unopposed, but the Democratic primary drew 27,000 more voters than in 2014, while Republican turnout dropped by more than 8,000 voters.

While it is way too early for Democrats to declare victory, the numbers clearly indicate higher engagement by Democratic voters over their GOP counterparts. But primaries and general elections are two different things.

Will Democrats sustain enthusiasm going into November? Or will there be a repeat of 2016 where Democrats stayed only long enough to support their candidate then stayed away from the general election?

Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses drew record numbers in 2016. Those numbers failed to sustain all the way to November costing Democrats not just the White House, but also Congress.

Voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election, despite the contentiousness of the race, failed to break records on percentage of voters. And the United States still didn't come close to the voting numbers from other first world countries.

The U.S. last hit comparable numbers during a presidential race in the 1800s when 83 percent of voters went to the polls over Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden. Recent years show a steady hover between 50 to 60 percent voter engagement.

Voter turnout in presidential elections from 1789-2016 (Skye Gould/Business Insider)

If only about 60 percent of voters will show up to decide on the presidency, lower numbers when the fate of Congress is on the line are assured. People online are rightfully concerned about voter apathy and expressed it after the Pew numbers were released.

Even when people were cautiously optimistic they still voiced concerns.

And the Pew Research Center made a point about who votes and who does not. While Gen-X, Millennials and post-Millennials—those younger than 54 in 2018—now make up the majority of eligible voters, they fail to vote in midterm elections.

While these state primary numbers suggest Democratic enthusiasm runs high right now, the real test occurs on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Will Democrats show up or stay home?

If you plan to vote in November or by absentee ballot, but do not know your voter registration status, you can check here through HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy through voter registration.

More from News/2024-election

TikTok screenshots of Hank Azaria and Buckingham Palace guard

Hank Azaria Hilariously Tries To Get Buckingham Palace Guard To Crack With Classic 'Simpsons' Voices

Hank Azaria tried to get a King's Guard to crack during a recent visit to London... but to no avail.

The actor shared his hilarious attempt on TikTok, captioning the video:

Keep ReadingShow less
Antony Starr as Homelander on "The Boys"; Donald Trump survives assassination attempt during rally
Prime Video; Rebecca Droke/AFP via Getty Images

'The Boys' Issues Content Disclaimer And Alters Season Finale Title After Trump Shooting

The Amazon Prime series The Boys changed the title of its Season 4 finale and issued a content disclaimer explaining that "plotline similarities" to the recent assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump "are coincidental."

The final episode, titled "Assassination Run," features an attempt on President-elect Robert Singer's (Jim Beaver) life by a supe disguised as Starlight (Erin Moriarty). After the assassination attempt on Trump at a Pennsylvania rally on July 13, viewers of the R-rated superhero satire noted the unsettling similarities.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot of Nikki Haley; Joe Biden
C-SPAN; Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Nikki Haley's Blunt 'Election' Prediction Comes Back To Haunt Trump After Biden Drops Out

Earlier this year, South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley made a blunt prediction about which political party would win this year's election, a statement that has garnered more attention since President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris.

At 81, Biden faced increasing concerns within his party about his age and capacity to serve another term, along with fears of a potential loss to former President Donald Trump—who is 78—in November. In his announcement, Biden backed Harris as the Democratic nominee to replace him, calling it "the best decision I’ve made."

Keep ReadingShow less
group of people eating on picnic table
Lee Myungseong on Unsplash

People Describe The Worst Things That Have Ever Happened At A Family Function

Ahhh, family.

Some we love, some we like, some... let's just say there are usually some family members we'd rather see far less of.

Keep ReadingShow less
Glen Powell; Bill Paxton
Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Critics' Choice Television Awards

Glen Powell Pays Moving Tribute To Bill Paxton As 'Twisters' Opens: 'His Boots Are Impossible To Fill'

Actor Glen Powell paid tribute to late actor and friend Bill Paxton on the opening day of the film Twisters.

Powell stars as famous internet "tornado wrangler" Tyler Owens in the new disaster film, which is a standalone sequel to the 1996 Twister movie that starred Paxton, who also played a former storm chaser.

Keep ReadingShow less