Turnout in the 2018 Elections

An edited version of some of Chairman James Buchal's remarks at our November 12, 2018 organizational meeting, statistics courtesy of Mark Nashif and Eric Fruits:

I don’t know about you, but the election results were quite a letdown, particularly in Oregon, and I have gotten ahold of some turnout numbers that show just how tilted the field is against us here in Oregon. The good news is that statewide, our turnout was about 79%.

The bad news is that statewide, the Democratic turnout was 79%. That’s bad news because in the last four years, the Democrats have managed to register an awful lot more people than we have. There are now 985 thousand registered Democrats, and only 711 thousand registered Republicans. So when we each get 79% turnout, that means they get 787 thousand votes and we get 566 thousand. We are 221 thousand votes behind right off the bat.

Now we did not exactly cover ourselves in glory here in Multnomah County, because the D turnout was 81%, and we were only at about 75%. That wasn’t the case in Washington and Clackamas Counties, where the turnouts were neck and neck. If we had gotten 6% more Republican ballots in Multnomah County, that would have been 3700 more votes, but that wouldn’t really have turned the tide.

There have been some suggestions that if only 2% more Republicans showed up statewide, everything would be fine. That’s not true. We could get 100% turnout, and they could get 75% turnout, and we’d still have fewer votes.

And I should note that compared to 2014, the last mid-term election, the D’s increased their turnout 3.9%, and we increased our turnout only 2.4%. So Trump hatred appears to be a more powerful voting motivator than, say, the imminent loss of our Republic and our fundamental Constitutional rights.

What about all those non-affliated voters (NAVs)? There are 851 thousand NAVs, which if you add them to the Independent Party (IND) makes them the largest group in Oregon. Their turnout number was only 45%, so there were 384 thousand NAV votes to contend for; the INDs had 67% turnout, or 81 thousand votes to contend for.

That brings me to the Knute Buehler race. His whole strategy was simple: he tried to appeal to the NAV voters, trusting that we as Republicans would vote for him as the lesser of two evils no matter what he did.

And he got 777 thousand votes—which you could look at as all the 566 thousand Republican votes and then some 211 thousand more.

But Kate Brown got 885 thousand votes, which you could look at as all the 787 thousand Democrat votes, and only 98 thousand more. So in some sense, Dr. Buehler probably succeeded in his attempt to win the unaffiliated moderates, and probably got two out of three of their votes. But it wasn’t nearly enough.

We have to have a candidate who can not only win most of the moderate votes, but also make an appeal strong enough that they get off the couch and mail their votes in. In fact, we have to have a candidate so strong that some of the Democrats will #Walkaway.

Personally, I think the current establishment Republican view that we need to nominate people I would call bland technocrats is a failure.  I think we need candidates that have and sell a moral core, and that more than anything, people want to see justice done. That’s why we keep hearing “lock her up,” or “lock him up”. I think if we had an anticorruption candidate, we could win. But let me turn away from that can of worms.

Returning to the turnout numbers, the 18-34 group got only 46% turnout. I say thank God to that, because our public schools are turning out armies of little Leftists. There are more than twice as many young, registered Democrats as Republicans: 132 thousand to 59 thousand.

And unfortunately, the little Leftists, the 18-34 Ds, are voting at 64%, but the young Republicans are only voting a 55%, so we are not only failing to register young people, we are failing to encourage our young Republicans to vote.

The 35-54 age group is voting at 66%, and there’s not that much difference between the parties, we’re a little behind on turnout, 75% to 79%.

The 55+ group is voting at 81%, and our 55+ Republicans are voting at 87%, just a point ahead of the Democrats at 86%. So we still have a lot of old Republicans, and they are really good voters, but we are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if we can’t persuade younger Americans that our Constitution makes a whole lot more sense than turning the country into Venezuela.


Showing 2 reactions

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  • Phil Sterle,jr
    commented 2018-12-10 16:16:27 -0800
    John is right. I also think that we need strong candidates in city and county races that drive home the ineffective demorat leadership that citizens are dealing with now. In portland alone the disastrous effects of poor leadership can be seen daily. Drive home to citizens the results of voting for stupid policies and lame candidates and we will win. giving up is not acceptable. The survival of the Republic and our state
    Rests on our shoulders.
  • Steven Loyd
    commented 2018-11-17 22:19:30 -0800
    It’s time to stop whining and time to start working. Every election comes and goes and I have yet to see a single serious challenger to our opposition’s failed ideas. That my friends is our fault. We make excuses why we lose elections, well I am tired of it. We know from the bottom of our hearts that Republican ideals can save this State and this Nation but it’s not enough to hope, it’s time to Work!