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2018 Turnout: Headwinds… and Hope

July 20, 2017

In the midst of ongoing efforts to make it harder for Americans to cast a ballot, voter turnout among the Rising American Electorate (RAE) faces an additional headwind: the historical trend of large declines in voter participation between presidential and midterm elections.

Our new report with Lake Research Partners, Comparing the Voting Electorate in 2012-2016 and Predicting 2018 Drop-Off, predicts the size of this headwind, projecting that 40 million Americans who voted in 2016 won’t turn out to vote in 2018 — and two-thirds of these will be members of the RAE. Key battleground states like Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida will be particularly impacted by this drop-off.

But there’s still hope. We can combat this projected drop-off and vote suppression by doubling down on our efforts to register and turn out the Rising American Electorate. We won’t be intimidated by their efforts to gather private data about every voter, efforts that are so blatantly ridiculous that the resistance from states has been bipartisan and nearly universal.

And we know what messages work to bring the Rising American Electorate to the polls. As research by our sister organization, Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, points out, working-class and unmarried women are particularly turned off by Trump’s budget and health-care plans — and are open to a truly populist economic message that addresses their concerns about the rising cost of living, increasing economic insecurity, and the perception that our economy is rigged to help the richest rather than for everyone to succeed.


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