NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Voter Turnout Varied Among States

March 9, 2000

A preliminary analysis of voting patterns on Super Tuesday reveals that voter turnout was essentially light, with Republicans more likely to vote in the primaries than Democrats. However, voters in California "came out it droves," according to Beth Miller, a spokesperson for the secretary of state's office.

  • "Turnout has been up in the Republican Party, not particularly in the Democratic Party," comments Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate -- adding that the turnout for the Democrats was not high "almost anywhere."
  • Miller attributed the high California turnout to the fact that the state moved its primary up to March 7, giving voters there more weight in the presidential nominating process "for the first time in 30 years."
  • Nevertheless, fewer Republicans went to the polls so far this year than did in 1996.
  • In the primary in New York, between 20 and 25 percent of registered Democratic voters cast ballots, compared to 25 to 30 percent among Republicans.

In California, some 3.6 million participated in the Republican contest, while turnout among Democrats was about 2.9 million.

In Maryland, where Democrats hold about a 5-to-1 registration edge over Republicans, about 420,000 people voted in the Republican contest, compared to 360,000 in the Democratic primary.

In Ohio, Republican turnout was about 1.3 million, versus about 950,000 among Democrats.

Source: Barbara J. Saffir, "Primary Election Voting Remains Light," and Dave Boyer, "Bush Buoyed by High Turnouts," both in The Washington Times, March 9, 2000.


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