By: Ryan Smith
Tonight’s first debate between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney kicks off the final stretch of this long Presidential Cycle. Much of the campaign has gone as predicted but there are some things you can predict, and some you just have to wait to play out. The “Obama Voter” is likely one of those things we’ll have to wait until after Election Day to fully understand.
2008 was an election cycle we will likely never see again. A Democratic Primary fight that lasted until the first week of June, with Barack Obama becoming the first African American candidate to lead a major party ticket. Two months later, a choice some have labeled a “game changing” decision, John McCain picks Sarah Palin as his Vice President.
With all of this excitement, 2008 created what we call the “Obama voter.” To qualify as an Obama Voter in Arizona you had to have registered after June 1st of 2008, voted in the November General Election, and never have voted since. Analyzing our own internal voter file data, following this year’s primary, Arizona has 92,215 “Obama Voters.”
At the very least, we have had two statewide election cycles including Prop 100 and Governor Brewer versus Attorney General Terry Goddard in 2010. In many municipalities though, there have been at least 2 election cycles with some having 3 or 4. 24% of the 92,215 voters are on the Permanent Early Voter list and have received a ballot for each one of those elections but chosen not to participate. 70,000 went to the polls on Election Day for the first time in ‘08 and have never returned.
A quick breakdown of those who have gone missing:
Party Not Disclosed: 32%
It has been a long 4 years since 2008, with the political winds ushering in big changes during the 2010-midterm elections, the rise of the tea party, and major hot button topics dominating the airwaves. As we look at demographics and turnout models, a big question looms, will the “Obama Voter” show up?