You’re going to hear this more than once by the end of the election season:
“It all comes down to turnout.”
Besides being annoying or perhaps cliche, the phrase is accurate: whichever party gets more voters out to actually vote will wind up winning state and federal races in November’s general election, including the race for president.
According to polling from Gallup in last fall, enthusiasm between the two major parties appears to be equal — 66 percent of Republicans describing themselves as “enthusiastic” to vote later this year, and 65 percent of Democratic voters say the same.
That demonstrates the election is probably going to be a close one. But what about voters who aren’t typically motivated to cast a ballot?
Indeed, voter enthusiasm was significantly down in 2016, when the turnout rate hit a 20-year low. With people once again motivated to vote, how will those who didn’t participate four years ago do so in 2020?
A recent poll from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center conducted a survey of respondents, including finding out the attitudes of non-voters in 2016 who plan to vote in 2020. Among those who said they fit into that camp, Democratic candidates for president fared much better, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
This bloc of voters could be key to giving Democrats an advantage in the presidential election.
The ERC poll looked at three swing states specifically — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — that Donald Trump happened to win by slim margins in 2016. Among voters in those states who sat out of 2016 but plan to vote this year, 24 percent said they planned to vote for Trump while 55 percent said they planned to back Sen. Bernie Sanders, given the choice between the two.
the same new UW/YouGov WI poll has very close Nov match-ups, with Trump trailing slightly vs Dems. Very diff from Quinn. poll. (UW sample in WI was +5 Dem, Q sample was +6 Rep). https://t.co/rOsl4jdNd9 pic.twitter.com/1waLffk3in
— Craig Gilbert (@WisVoter) February 23, 2020
Those numbers held true for other Democratic candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who wins that set of voters by 56 percent to 24 percent) as well as Joe Biden (who wins by 50 percent to 26 percent).
Essentially, by a margin of 2-to-1, non-voters from 2016 that are going to the ballot box in 2020 in those three states are planning to vote for the Democrat.
Since those three states’ outcomes were razor-thin, it could result in tipping the scales ever-so-slightly to whoever the Democrats pick to be their nominee, though it would still be a pretty tight election.
Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are considered “must-wins” for Trump if he hopes to win the Electoral College again. Combined, those three states account for 46 EC votes. If all other states stay the same, and the Democrat picks up those states in 2020, it would mean Trump would lose his bid to be re-elected.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.