Republicans are beating Democrats in getting out the vote
When it comes to voter turnout in the primaries and caucuses, one political camp is doing it better. Hint: It's not the Democrats.
Around 172,000 Democratic voters participated in the Iowa caucuses this year—compared to around 182,000 Republicans, Vocativ calculated, using figures reported by various news outlets. For Democrats, that marks a 28 percent decline in the number of caucus-goers from 2008, when Barack Obama was running against at least eight other candidates, including Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. A total of 240,000 Democrats that year participated in the Iowa caucuses.
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Republicans, on the other hand, drew 60,000 more voters to Iowa this year than they did in their last Iowa Caucus, in 2012, perhaps because of the crowded field and controversial characters. Republican candidates got out only 122,000 voters four years ago, when Rick Santorum won by a .1 percent lead over Mitt Romney.
Primaries in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina tell a similar story: There have been fewer Democratic voters—and more Republican voters—this year compared to previous elections.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is running his campaign based on a narrative that he is getting out the vote, and that his voters will start a political revolution with their record turnout. He said on Sunday that his campaign does better when voter turnout is high—a reason he said he didn't do well in Saturday's Nevada caucus. Turnout wasn't as strong as he had wanted. "And what I've said over and over again, we will do well when young people, when working-class people come out," Sanders said.
While Democratic voter turnout has been less robust than it was in '08, Sanders' campaign said it wasn't entirely accurate to compare that year's turnout with 2016 primaries. "Apples and oranges," said his spokesman Michael Briggs in an email to Bloomberg. "There were more candidates then driving up overall turnout," he said of 2008.
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