The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office has crunched the numbers, and they are predicting record turnout in the Republican primary on Tuesday. They are predicting that, once again, Republicans will also outperform the Democrats in terms of total votes cast on primary day. According to the New Hampshire Union-Leader:
CONCORD — Secretary of State Bill Gardner is predicting a record 550,000 votes will be cast in Tuesday’s Presidential Primary.
He believes 282,000 Republican ballots will be cast – a record for the GOP – and 268,000 Democratic ballots, second to the 272,000 cast in 2008.
* * *
If Gardner’s prediction is actuate (sic), 62 percent of the state’s registered voters will participate in Tuesday’s primary.
He believes about 50,000 people will register the day of the primary, down somewhat from the record of 61,000 same-day registrants.
Gardner doubts a predicted snowstorm Tuesday will have a major impact on turnout.
Before Iowa, the conventional wisdom was that record turnout would help Donald Trump. And it’s true, if you look at the Iowa results, that Trump’s presence turned out the vote – Trump’s vote total would have allowed him to beat Rick Santorum by over 10,000 votes in 2012. However, what the conventional wisdom missed is that the anti-Trump vote is equally motivated to turn out, if not more so. Additionally, the other candidates have, you know, get out the vote operations that have become increasingly sophisticated and which can allow them to over perform relative to their polls (while Trump is under performing relative to his polls).
More significant is the tremendous observed enthusiasm gap between the Republican and Democrat primaries. New Hampshire is still a very contested primary on the Democrat side, and Hillary is still very much trying to win it (although it will likely be a last gasp for Bernie Sanders). And yet New Hampshire, which has been trending blue, will likely not see nearly as many Democrat votes cast on Tuesday as Republican ones.