We are just a little over a year away from the next General Election with every statewide office up for grabs. We have entered political equivalent of the Oscar nomination season where people are busy asking about who’s in and who’s out, who’s hot and who’s not. Is the primary going to be brutal? Will he or she be able to raise money? It seems like an official announcement, an exploratory committee, or a decline to seek an office is a daily occurrence.
While we spend a lot of time talking about who is going to RUN next year, far less focus is spent on who is going to VOTE next year. Here are some interesting statistics for you to consider:
Estimated Population of Arizona (2012 census estimate): 6,553,255
Estimated Population over age 18 (2012 census): 4,934,601
Registered voters (July 1, 2013): 3,227,819
If we assume that almost everyone over the age of 18 is eligible to register to vote, only approximately 65.4% of eligible adults are actually registered to vote. If that’s not shocking enough for you, remember this, just because they are registered to vote, doesn’t mean that they are going to participate. Here is turnout in Arizona General Elections since 2000:
As you can see, the Presidential cycles bring out more voters than Gubernatorial cycles,.Â The most voters ever turned out to vote for President in 2012, and that still only turned out 74.4% of registered voters â€“ that represents only 47.1% of adults over 18 in Arizona.Â That means, even at the participation apex, less than half of our adults are electing our leaders.
So looking forward to 2014, we’re in a Gubernatorial cycle, so we will see participation to fall somewhere between 57-60% participation.Â That means we can expect around 1.9 million people to vote in this election (or about 39% of the adult population).Â That’s about 150,000 more than those that participated in 2010.
So the question we should be asking in addition to who is running is who are these 1.9 million people that will be voting?
As we have discussed before, it’s less about who is registered and more about who actually shows up.Â In the 2014 cycle, the partisan participation should be around 43-46% Republican, 32-34% Democrat, and 20-25% Independent & PND.Â Nearly 30% of the electorate will be over the age of 65.
The question will really be: who are those secondary constituencies that can be driven out by electoral circumstances or issues on the ballot?Â Can Democrats be motivated by a HB2305 referral?Â Can they come together behind a unified ticket?Â Will Republicans be motivated or fractured by bruising primaries?Â How much will it help them to NOT have Medicaid restoration on the ballot?Â Is this finally the year that Independents decide to show up?