Jim Clark: What voter trends will carry forward to S.C., Nevada?
February 10, 2016
First a public service announcement. Registered voters wishing to vote for either the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate of choice will have to attend their party's caucus later this month.
Democrats caucus on Saturday, Feb. 20, starting at 11 a.m. at both Incline High School and Incline Middle School. You can find out which of the two by clicking on http://www.caucus.nvdems.com and following the simple instructions. That website will also tell you your precinct number which you should take with you to your caucus site along with a government issued identification card.
Republicans caucus Tuesday, Feb. 23, starting at 5 p.m. at Incline Middle School. GOP caucus-goers should register in advance at http://www.nevadagopcaucus.org. The site will email you your registration acknowledgement and precinct number. Take the registration and a government issued identification card to the caucus with you.
Both caucuses are run by volunteers from the respective parties, so websites can malfunction. A sure back website up for all to see if they are registered and to ascertain their precinct number is http://www.washoecounty.us/voters.
Now, let's have some fun. Let's take a look at some of the predictions made by pundits based on the Iowa caucus results to extrapolate probable results in New Hampshire. My deadline for this column is the day before the New Hampshire Primary Election, so by the time you read this in the Bonanza print edition, that election will be history.
The first thing learned was that Iowa polls were not really that good. Donald Trump was supposed to win the Iowa caucuses by a large margin, yet it was Ted Cruz who received the most votes and Marco Rubio who substantially outperformed the results forecast by the polls.
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Will this trend persist in New Hampshire? Cruz was helped by the fact that 64 percent of Iowa GOP caucus goers identify as evangelical Protestants. In New Hampshire that figure is 22%. Prediction: Cruz will not perform as well in the Granite State.
Polls cannot forecast voter turnout — 186,000 Iowa Republicans and 171,000 Democrats turned out to caucus this year. Of those, 84,000 Republicans and 75,000 Democrats were first time caucus goers. By way of comparison in 2008 (the year Obama, Hillary Clinton and Edwards ran), Democratic turnout was 220,000. The same year (McCain & Romney were GOP candidates), Republican turnout was 119,000.
So this year, when again there is no incumbent on the ballot, Republican turn out increased by 44% and Democratic turnout fell 22%. Many pundits believe that Iowa turnout trends correlate with General Election results. Prediction: a good omen for Republicans.
In 2016, some 119,000 Republican voters self-identified as evangelical Protestants up from 69,000 in 2012. Did this prove that Cruz was right when he said he could bring previous non-voters to the polls? To some extent. Based on exit polls 39,000 evangelicals voted for Cruz but Trump and Rubio each garnered 25,000. Prediction: Cruz will receive a smaller percentage of the vote in New Hampshire.
Republican College graduates went 60% for Rubio while over half of non-college grads split their vote between Trump and Cruz. Prediction: none. The data are not definitive.
A total of about 53,000 voters of both parties were under thirty. The majority voted Democrat but only 4000 voted for Clinton. 6,000 voted for Cruz, 5,000 for Rubio and 4,000 for Trump. Prediction: a bad omen for Hillary Clinton.
OK readers, now you get to compare the experts' post-Iowa predictions with the actual results in New Hampshire. Are there trends that will carry forward to South Carolina and Nevada?
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.