Raw Data: Turnout Rates in the 2016 Election

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Was Hillary Clinton such a crippled, establishment candidate that voters stayed home in droves because they were so unenthusiastic about her? With all the votes now counted, here’s the raw data:

The 2016 election had the third-highest turnout of the past ten elections, so there was no general lack of enthusiasm. However, the Democratic share of the turnout was a couple of points lower than usual. I don’t think we have the data to know exactly what caused this, but the most likely explanation is that a small number of dedicated Sanders supporters decided to stay home rather than vote for Clinton. The Republican share of the turnout was about the same as in 2012.

Roughly speaking, there weren’t any major shifts in turnout, and if you dig down into the exit poll data you won’t find any big shifts in vote share by race or income or age. You’ll mostly find a few small shifts (negative among young voters, people of color, and high school grads, positive among college grads, married women, and high-income voters) but only of a few points. For political professionals there are some lessons here, but in a broad, national direction sense, there’s really not a lot to see.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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