Although rain is predicted, record high voter registration, strong turnout in the primaries, sharp Trump-era voter enthusiasm and a close governor’s race have experts predicting more Connecticut voters will head to the polls Tuesday than is typical for a non-presidential year.
Statewide turnourt should be “higher than average,” said Gayle Alberda, political science professor at Fairfield University, who added, “I think nationally we are going to see unprecedented numbers for a midterm.”
Khalilah Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University, predicted a “moderate increase” in turnout, “particularly in urban areas where the candidates have focused a lot of their get-out-the-vote efforts.”
She added, “We are expecting greater turnout among young voters and independent voters.”
Conventional wisdom says high turnout helps a Democrat, in this case Ned Lamont in the close governor’s race, in part because registered Democrats outnumber Republicans — 37 percent to 21 percent, with 42 percent unaffiliated or with minor parties.
The old belief is that turnout among younger and lower-income voters who back Democrats in greater numbers can rise and fall, while older, suburban and small-town voters show up reliably. But Bob Stefanowski, a populist Republican, and petitioning unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel, could bring out their own new voters that contribute to a high turnout, many observers say.
Connecticut voter registration is at its highest in more than 30 years heading into Election Day, data from the Secretary of the State’s office shows. As of Monday, 2,165,229 voters were registered.
Going for a record
The three top years for turnout, with winning governor, since 1986:
1990 68% Weicker
1994 65% Rowland
1986 61% O’Neill
Connecticut’s voter turnout in statewide elections is already relatively high, historically, compared to national averages. In 2014, the last midterm election, 42 percent of American citizens of voting age cast a ballot, while in Connecticut 47 percent voted, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than 320,000 people registered after the 2016 election, according to the Secretary of the State’s office, much higher than the usual run up of pre-midterm voters. A breakdown by party was not available.
In the August primary, 29 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans cast ballots — higher than midterm turnout for those parties in 2014 and 2010.
These figures mirror national trends that suggest voter enthusiam and turnout are way up in 2018. A national survey by Pew Research Center in September found that voter enthusiasm is at its highest level during any midterm in more than two decades. A separate poll by Gallup in September reached the same conclusion, finding 55 percent of voters are “more enthusiastic” than usual.Read Full Article
In 27 states, 2018 early voting totals have exceeded early voting in 2014, according to data from the University of Florida Elections Project. Connecticut does not permit early voting.
At the high end of turnout, or in places not prepared for crowds, the numbers can be quelled by long lines at polling places.
In the last eight Connecticut elections for governor, from 1986 to 2014, which are U.S. midterms, the three with the highest percentage turnout saw mixed results. One was won by a third party candidate, one by a Republican and one by a Democrat. Those were A Connecticut Party candidate, former Republican Lowell P. Weicker Jr., in 1990; Republican John G. Rowland in 1994; and Democrat Bill O’Neill in 1986.
Moreover, it is not always safe to assume more urban turnout will favor Democrats in Connecticut, said Brown-Dean.
“The nature of our cities has been changing,” she said. “We can’t just assume that is the typical Democratic base.”