numbers man at Catawba College, published a graph-heavy assessment of turnout in last month's election. Jane Porter, for the Indy Week newsletter, extracted some bottomlines (for which I'm most grateful). The sum and substance ain't pretty. The Democrats need to reassess what they've been doing and do something very differently.
3.7 million North Carolinians cast a ballot in last month's election, or 51 percent of all of the state's registered voters
58.4 percent of registered Republicans turned out
51.2 percent of registered Democrats turned out
44.7 percent of registered Unaffiliated voters turned out
54 percent of registered Greens and 30 percent of registered Libertarians turned out
58 percent of white non-Hispanic voters turned out
42 percent of Black/African American non-Hispanic voters turned out
26 percent of Hispanic/Latino voters turned out
37 percent of all other non-Hispanic races turned out
34 percent of voters whose race was unreported turned out
24 percent of Gen Z voters (ages 18-25) turned out
35 percent of registered Millennial voters (ages 26-41) turned out
55 percent Generation X voters (ages 42-57) turned out
71 percent of Boomers (ages 58 to 76) turned out
66 percent of Silent Generation voters (ages 77 to 111) turned out
47 percent of voters living in central cities turned out
54 percent of voters living in urban suburbs turned out
52 percent of voters living in surrounding suburban counties turned out
51 percent of voters living in rural counties turned out
Bitzer calls this mid-term's crop of voters "Whiter, older, more Republican." Here are his conclusions:
For Republicans, it's simple: keep doing what you do. In the short-run, higher turnout rates for key GOP groups will continue to see you win the "competitive but stuck" battleground electoral environment, at least state-wide.
For Democrats, it's also simple: if you want to keep your federal candidates getting 48 to 49 percent of the vote, but lose to Republicans by the narrowest of margins time after time, keep doing what you are doing. Keep getting your registered partisans to show up just at the state-level, but allow your partisan opponents to show up at a higher rate. Ignore turning out voters under 40 years old, ignore turning out out core Black/African American voters, and ignore your regional dominance in the central cities.
In the end, it wasn't that Democrats like Cheri Beasley did as well as she did in what was presented as a classic mid-term environment, but rather she did as well despite the fact that core Democratic voting blocks has abysmal turnout rates.
And it may seem like we say this every election cycle, but in North Carolina, it's true: it's all about who shows up and turns out. Once again, 2022 repeats the consistency of North Carolina's electoral politics as a 'stuck battleground' state, and in the end, turnout matters.