Monday, June 27, 2005 The National Interest: Reading the signs from voter turnout (6/20/05)

Michael Barone is as impressive as ever in his latest article published in USNews.
The National Interest: Reading the signs from voter turnout.
In it he talks about the difference between polls and voter turnout. Amazing what in depth analysis can show you, more journalists should try it.
"In my view, the big question about the 2006 and 2008 elections will once again be turnout. To judge from the mainstream media coverage in 2005, you might conclude that Democrats, frothing with hatred of George W. Bush, will turn out in large numbers while disheartened Republicans will not.

But the actual election results seem to tell another story. I am referring to the results in the New Jersey and Virginia primary elections held earlier this month. In both primaries, more Republicans voted than Democrats."
In Virginia, which does not have party registration, the only office for which both parties had contests was lieutenant governor. Some 169,000 Virginians voted in the Republican primary and 114,000 in the Democratic primary: Sixty percent of the two-party vote was cast for Republicans in a state that Bush carried by a 54-to-45 percent margin. Republicans cast 59 percent of the votes in the three congressional districts in Northern Virginia, which Kerry carried, and 60 percent of the vote in the other eight districts. Democrats got the lion's share of the vote in the black-majority Third District and the Arlington-Alexandria Eighth District, the two districts John Kerry carried; they also got 59 percent of the votes in the Ninth District in southwestern Virginia. But in five districts, 75 percent or more of the votes were cast for Republicans. And in the suburban Northern Virginia 11th District, which Bush carried by only a 50-to-49 percent margin, 62 percent of the votes were cast for Republicans.

This does not ensure that the Republicans will sweep Virginia in the November 2005 Virginia election, but it is a good sign for them–and was a pleasant surprise to some knowledgeable Republican insiders. More important, the Virginia results and perhaps the New Jersey results suggest that the balance of enthusiasm, which worked for Republicans in 2004, may still be working in their favor—mainstream media coverage to the contrary notwithstanding.
Read the whole thing.