The Madeleine Brand Show for February 8, 2012

What GOP turnout can tell us about the 2012 Election

Rick Santorum Attends Missouri Primary Night Event

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to Missouri supporters. Santorum was declared the winner in non-binding Republican Primary contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

With primaries and caucuses complete in several major states, what can GOP voter turnout tell us about the 2012 general election? In many contests, turnout was lower than in years past. Does this mean the GOP can expect an enthusiasm gap in November?

Last night, Rick Santorum was declared the winner in three state contests. The problem? In Colorado, a state of 5 million people, about 65,000 turned out — 1.3 percent of the voting-age population. In Missouri, 6 percent of the voting age placed a vote. In Minnesota, the numbers were even worse — a little over 1 percent of the voting age population came to the ballot box, according to NPR.

Though no state had to commit any delegates in last night's election, it could be a problem for the GOP in November. Last night's numbers could be an overall national trend. In Florida and Nevada last week, 14 percent and 26 percent less voters turned out to take part in the Republican Primary compared to the 2008 Republican Primary, according to The Hill.

Michael MacDonald, director of the US Elections Project and professor at George Mason University, joins the show to talk more about the election.


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