Monday, May 10, 2010

12% Turnout Predicted for August 10 Primary

Today I released a study indicating that the impact of changing the date of the Minnesota primary from September to August will result in less than a two percent decrease in voter turnout. The study is found here at

I predict that only about 12% of the voters, or approximately 381,000 voters will show up for the new August primary. This is a 2% compared to the 2006 primary.

The report is entitled Estimating Voter Turnout in the August 10, 2010 Minnesota Primary.

Based on the limited experiences of two other states–Florida and Washington–which changed their primaries from September to August, the impact of the new August date in Minnesota will be minimal, amounting to less than a 2 percent decrease in turnout. While two percent is not much, it is a predicted decrease, continuing a downward rate of participation in primaries in Minnesota that has continued since the early 1980s.” The reason for the decrease, according to the report, may be due to confusion, summer vacations, and the absence of the state fair to cue voters that a primary is occurring.

The report notes that the impact of the new primary date needs to be considered along side of this downward trend in primary participation. The latter may be driven by declining party identification in the state or other factors according to Schultz. The 12% turnout would compare to nearly 14% in 2006 and 31% in1982. The 12% predicted turnout in August means 381,000 voters will go to the polls this August.

In addition to predicting overall August voter turnout, the report estimates 229,000 individuals will vote in the 2010 DFL gubernatorial primary, and that to win the DFL gubernatorial primary, a candidate will need to between 76,197 and 114,410 votes, with the most likely winning number being between 90,000-95,000 votes.

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