Monday, February 6, 2012

Nevada Turnout Note

I've seen a lot of people comparing Nevada turnout to 2008. Careful! Remember, context matters. Several 2008, Nevada had just moved up in the process, and so it was sort of a first-time thing, which might have increased turnout over this year. It was also essentially earlier in the process. In 2008, Nevada went on the same day as South Carolina, and before Florida -- although Michigan had squeezed in between New Hampshire and Nevada/South Carolina. Between the calendar and the way the process played out, the nomination was far more up for grabs when Nevada caucused in 2008 than it was this time around. In fact, there were still three viable candidates at that point (McCain, Huck, and Romney), and the press was still treating Fred Thompson and Giuliani as viable candidates, although they really weren't. And Ron Paul was Ron Paul.

I have no idea how to adjust for any of that, but at least in my view it's silly to do a straight year-to-year comparison without keeping the context in mind.


  1. to what degree does primary turnout predict general election turnout in your view? a lot of liberals seem excited about the low (so far) turnout numbers for the GOP... is that excitement warranted?

  2. Is NV 2012 more different than NV 2008 or more similar to IA/NH/FL 2012, where turnout was down (and may have been up in SC in part due to very rapid population growth, and despite a state population that's 30% greater, still didn't match 2000 turnout)? I think the latter.

    I don't think a week or two difference in the schedule can explain why NV wouldn't be following the trend that's been evident in every state.


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