Conversely, younger voters and those of color were underrepresented in the 2022 electorate, and both heavily favor Democrats.
Midterm exit polls, for instance, show young voters favored House Democrats over House Republicans by nearly 2 to 1, or 63%-35%. So the math is simple: Higher turnout among young voters boosts the showing of Democratic candidates, which is part of what drove huge Democratic victories in the two key battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania, as an analysis of voting data by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) found. This is exactly why Republicans are openly talking about how to suppress youth turnout.
Meanwhile, Bump also notes that Latino voters accounted for the largest racial disparity between percentage of the population (19%) and of the electorate (10%). But the gap was partly exacerbated by the fact that Latinos account for just 16% of U.S. citizens.
In all, adjusting the ‘22 exit polls on race and age to match actual demographic populations suggests that Democratic House candidates would have likely secured more votes than Republicans in several close races.
There is more data that should worry Republicans. According to a Washington Post analysis of census data, Black voters, youth, and college graduates accounted for some of the largest voter dropoff between the last two midterm cycles. While white voter turnout between 2018 and 2022 sagged by just 1.5 points, Black turnout plummeted by 10 points, from 52% to 42%.
University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald believes that deficit “likely cost the Democrats the Wisconsin Senate seat” due to depressed turnout in Milwaukee. It worked out for Republicans in the short term, but it gives Democrats a larger pool of potential future voters going forward.
These data analyses bolster the argument of political strategist Simon Rosenberg that getting hyper-focused on increasing turnout among key Democratic constituencies could help Democrats secure 55% of the national vote next year, adding nearly 4 points to Joe Biden’s 51.3% in 2020. With Black turnout recently strong in presidential years (though it can’t be taken for granted), Rosenberg sees strong growth potential among four groups: under 45-year-olds, Latinos, anti-MAGA Republicans, and voters whose political views have or can be shifted due to the Republican Party’s hard-right turn (like college-educated suburban white people). If Democrats succeed in boosting those groups, a 55% Biden performance could break the MAGA movement’s back, following on the three dismal consecutive cycles it has already served up to Republicans.
While Republicans have mostly topped out their potential voters, Democrats have the potential to increase participation in the electorate among low-performing groups that heavily favor their candidates. All it takes is the right focus, intention, and investment.
2023 may be an off-year, but that just means Virginia takes its traditional place as one of the key states to watch. With odd-year state elections, Virginia has often been a key bellwether for the rest of the country and this year is no different. Both the State Senate and the General Assembly are up and both chambers could be won by either party. Daily Kos Elections Editor Jeff Singer joins us to preview the key races in both the June primary and the fall general election.