Will low voter turnout give Republican Neel Kashkari a chance?

The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal 9 Comments

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In the wake of low voter turnout in the June 2014 California primary which favored conservative / Republican candidates, is there any chance of a repeat on a bigger scale in November 2014?

John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research & Communication, says November 2014 could be a real downer for California when it comes to voter turnout. As John notes in a new blog post for Competitive Edge, The June primary turnout was stunningly — unprecedentedly — bad, as only 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. This embarrassing record justifiably gets him thinking about whether the upcoming general election will sink to a record low as well.

John’s verdict: yeah, if history is a guide, November turnout will hit a record nadir.

“If we use the last four primary elections in which turnout has been in the 30 percent range (’94, ’02, ’04 and ’06) we find the average increase from the primary to the general is 21 percent. That would put the state’s November 2014 turnout at a terrible 44 percent. Another way to make the prediction is to use the percentage increase between those four primaries and their generals.  That comes out to 160 percent and if we apply that to this June’s turnout we get an even more dismal 37 percent November turnout.

“Either way you slice it, voter participation in the upcoming election ain’t looking good.

“This is welcome news for Republicans. Their voters are more reliable because they are older (although their age is a serious long-term concern for the GOP, the statewide runoff is a near-term issue).  Republicans can be counted on to show up in even low turnout elections. Therefore the Democrats’ numerical advantage lessens in those scenarios.

“When nearly everyone votes (think November 2012), 15 percent more Democrats than Republicans will cast ballots. That’s insurmountable for any non-incumbent Republican running against a scandal-free Democrat.  But in June’s low turnout election, that advantage was cut nearly in half to about 8 percent. If November’s turnout is only 37 percent, then the margin will roughly be +9 percent Democrat. Even on the high end of the range (44 percent), Democrats will out-number Republicans by only about 10 percent.

“Although being out-gunned by 10 percent is not a favorable position for Republicans, it gives a likeable, well-funded, moderate GOP candidate a chance.  Kevin Faulconer fit this description in his race for Mayor of San Diego. Competitive Edge’s research for the Faulconer campaign showed how critical it was for him to convey his personal brand to persuadable voters. Faulconer and his campaign team did so brilliantly, repeatedly delivering the message that he is “not your typical Republican” right through Election Day. Despite going up against a likable Democrat in an election where Democrats out-numbered Republicans by 7 percent, Faulconer prevailed with 53 percent of the vote.

“This same description tends to fit Neel Kashkari, but he has one big problem – Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is also likeable and moderate. He won’t lack for funds and, oh, by the way, is the incumbent. Although record low turnout will give Kashkari a better chance, he’ll need Brown to stumble badly.”

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Comments 9

  1. In a low turnout election, during the President’s second term, of course Neel has a chance. It’s a small one, but if Jerry Brown slips, Neel can capitalize on it. It’s gonna be all about showing Jerry Brown’s weaknesses.

  2. I much as I dislike and don’t trust Jerry Brown, I’ll take him over the rino.
    Guess I’ll sit this one out.

  3. Kashkari could pull this off if he can lure Brown into making some Moon Beam like statements or if he can effectively communicate the still perilous state of the economy, but a win will ultimately lie in the ability of the Rs to unify and mobilize should these things be accomplished. That is the perpetual failure of our party, the inability of many to learn that the cultural change necessary for a rise in conservative ideology will not happen overnight. I have way more in common with Donnelly ideologically, but I know he is a candidate of a future era, not the political reality of the here and now. The far left progressives of the past knew this and have brought popular liberalism to California through incremental change and while I believe we can do the same, I don’t believe the RINO name callers have the insight to get it done. As they continue to chase a conservative utopia, the far left entrenches their cultural hold. A myriad of truisms come to mind that reflect the concept we need to embrace about Kashkari as “our” guy, spanning all levels of human intellectual ability to comprehend; the preschool wisdom “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”, to the average “a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush”, to the deeper thinkers I offer Reagan’s “Somebody who agrees with me 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20 percent traitor”. I too,perhaps, am chasing a utopia where California Republicans start moving forward toward something better instead of standing still and waiting for a conservative resurgence to land in their lap.

  4. “Somebody who agrees with me 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20 percent traitor”.

    I respect you Leah and you’re thoughts are good but I can’t get past TARP. The man engineered the largest heist in history, thereby reducing the purchasing power of our children and…

    …he’s proud of that. At the end of the day, I want him locked up for theft, not Governor of the State.

    I won’t throw a fit…I just “won’t”.

  5. If you vote on gun rights only or primarily, you either don’t vote or you vote for Brown. That’s….not where i was hoping the Republican Party would be right now.

  6. “If you vote on gun rights only or primarily…” You are Founding Father with a different issue.

  7. I meet them all the time, HQ. And they vote in every election.
    The bigger point is that in the biggest race in the state, Republicans do not have the high ground on an issue many of them claim to value highly.
    Brown is not a solid “A” on guns. He has his flaws. But when I hear Republicans mock Brown and call him Moonbeam, I laugh right back at them and point out he’s more Republican on gun issues than your guy.
    I’m doing what I did in the primary: leaving it blank.

  8. Unless the California economy takes a dramatic turn downward, Brown wins. And I don’t see such a dramatic downturn this year. I expect a longer term stately decline, but not anything that will affect this November’s election.

    Still, I hope the campaigns do dwell on issues — as the public needs more exposure to the problems facing California. We shall see.

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