The ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ Could Turn A Democratic Wave Into A Tsunami

by Nate Silver, founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight

It’s a busy time of year, so we’ll keep this relatively short. But I wanted to echo and underscore a point made by FiveThirtyEight contributor Nathaniel Rakich in his article on Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. One reason that the results are especially scary for Republicans — Democrat Conor Lamb is the apparent winner1 in a district that President Trump won by 20 percentage points — is because it came on reasonably high turnout, the sort of turnout one might expect in this year’s midterms.


As of early Wednesday morning, about 228,000 votes had been counted in the special election. That equals 62 percent of the 370,000 votes cast for the presidential candidates in the district in November 2016, according to data from Daily Kos Elections. That’s right in line with midterm turnout, which is typically 60 percent to 70 percent as high as turnout in presidential years.

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About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Known as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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