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Current time:0:00Total duration:1:15

How does voter turnout in midterms compare to presidential elections?

Video transcript

- [Interviewer] How does voter turnout in midterms compare to presidential elections? - Traditionally, midterm elections have been years in which the voter turnout is much lower than a presidential election, and particularly in recent history where the American political scene has been really dominated by the president. We can start that really with John F. Kennedy, when he became a celebrity president and really everybody increasingly has just sort of seen American political activity originating and swirling around a president. And so if they're interested in the president, well, they turn out for the presidential election. But in the off-year elections, in the midterms, well, the president's not really on the ballot even if some people tend to see the elections as a referendum on his presidency. So people turn out in lower numbers. We've also seen a trend, and it may be upturned in 2018, but a trend where Republican voters, who tend to be older, participate in the voting in midterm elections more than younger voters, who tend to vote Democratic, or voters of color, who vote for the Democratic Party as well. That's always been one of the challenges for Democrats, to get their team to turn out and vote in these midterm elections.