The 2018 election just might herald a reversal of fortunes in Nevada politics, if voter turnout projections from The Voter Participation Center bear up.
The Center study focuses on what it calls the Rising American Electorate (RAE), which it defines as unmarried women, Millennials (ages 18-34), African Americans, Latinos, and all other people of color. This group accounts for nearly 60 percent of those eligible to vote in this country and nearly 63 percent in Nevada, but they fail to register and turn out as often as non-RAEs.
But once you make this connection the study’s projections for voter turnout in 2018 offers a glimpse of what might happen in Nevada. The study projects that the total number of voters in the state will drop off by 420,000 from the 2016 presidential election to the mid-term November 2018 election.
At stake in that election is Dean Heller’s Senate seat, all four state representative seats, all statewide offices, 11 state Senate seats and all 42 Assembly seats. Heller is a Republican, three of four representatives are Democrats, all statewide officers are Republicans, and Democrats hold a majority in both the Assembly and state Senate.
But of that 420,000 voter drop off in Nevada, fully 309,000 are expected to be those RAEs, who tend to vote Democrat, while only 111,000 drop offs are expected to be non-RAEs.
In the 2014 mid-term election Republicans dominated — 44 percent of the voter turnout was Republican, compared to 37 percent Democrats and 19 precent other. In the presidential election of 2016, Clinton beat out Trump when the turnout was 40 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans and 24 others.
The RAEs still constitute a majority, but a 5 percentage-point swing could affect a number of races.
The diehards turnout in mid-term elections. The low-information types, as some might call them, often stay home.