I’m not the only one who has noticed that Democratic caucus and primary turnout so far has been down as compared to 2008 and that Republican caucus and primary turnout has been up as compared to either 2012 or 2008.Anna Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, made the same observation on a joint American Enterprise Institute/Brookings Institution/Center for American Progress panel last Thursday. The results of the South Carolina Democratic primary Saturday confirm the trend. Total turnout was 370,000, down from 30 percent from 2008’s 532,000 (I’m rounding off figures to the nearest thousand, and the 2016 numbers may be off a little from the final returns and exit poll numbers).Many commentators have noticed that blacks constituted a higher percentage of South Carolina Democratic voters this year, 65 percent according to the exit poll, than they did in 2008, 55 percent. But this represents not a surge of blacks into the electorate, but rather the fact that black turnout declined by only 18 percent, whereas white turnout fell nearly in half, by 44 percent.
We will learn in 2016 whether or not a major party can continue to lose the votes of whites, or roughly75% of the population according to the most recent census. The Democrats will not be a national party if they only appeal to minorities or whites who work for the government.
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