One of the most interesting features of the 2016 primaries are the turnout numbers for each party. For Super Tuesday, for instance, turnout numbers in each party have changed by around 3 million albeit in opposite directions. It is very likely, that there are many reason explaining the smaller Democrat turnout (Obama running in 2008, two Democratic terms, voter apathy, etc.). However, the increase in the Republican party is even more substantial than the Democrat decrease and it seems to be mostly fueled by Trump supporters, the so called "silent majority". enter image description here

In fact, support for establishment Repulican candidates seems to be roughly the same as in previous elections. The turnout increase seems to be comprised almost entirely by Trump supporters. In this article (http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2016/02/24/a-political-revolution-is-happening-among-republicans), they dissect some of the numbers from the four republican primaries before Super Tuesday. In my opinion, the most noteworthy data mentioned is that Mr. Trump obtained more popular support in this last Nevada primary than all ]the votes cast in the previous two. My question is then, is this an accurate interpretaion of these figures ? Is the turnout increase mostly attributable to the Trump factor? And perharps more speculative, but certainly interesting, who did this people vote for in previous elections?

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    I don't have time for a full answer but the answer appears to be 'yes' as there are reports that a good chunk of trump supporters are new voters.
    – user1530
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 3:15
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    I'd say 'yes' too. More people like the idea of Trump as a change from the normal and many other people cannot bear him and are turning out to to try and stop him.
    – Pat Dobson
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 14:40
  • I suggest from my own experience, turnout of republicans went way up due to Obama and the anti Obama rhetoric. Having a candidate like Trump who appeared to be an outsider helped but it could have been any outsider - celebrity and gotten the same amount of turnout.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Voting in primaries is more of a patter of (perceived) competitiveness. As this Republican primary was much more competitive than this year's Democratic primary, there is at least some evidence that Trump is not the primary factor behind an increase in Republican primary turnout.

Trumps baseline supporters seems to be disillusioned Republicans - they are not very likely (relative to other primary voters) to vote, but have pulled the lever for Republicans when given the chance. As always, however, exceptions exist.

See the following article for more details: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/donald-trump-2016-polling-turnout-early-voting-data-213897

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