Voter turnout in Tuesday's Idaho primaries may have hit a record low — due largely to new rules that restricted the GOP primary to registered Republicans only.
But that didn't stop the GOP from claiming success on the voter turnout front — although the party had to cherry-pick numbers to get there.
On Tuesday, some 144,500 votes were cast in Idaho's GOP congressional races. And, as the GOP correctly notes in a news release, that is a marked increase from 2008, when 126,573 votes were cast in the congressional races.
But the turnout for GOP congressional races was also about a 9 percent decrease from 2010, when 158,746 votes were case in GOP congressional primaries.
Normally, a comparison between 2008 and 2012 might hold water, since both years are presidential years. But since the Idaho GOP held its first-ever presidential caucus in March, taking the presidential race off the 2012 ballot, there's an apples-to-oranges element to the comparison.
Read for yourself. Here's the GOP's news release, in full:
Today the Idaho GOP praised the high level of participation in the Republican primary, particularly in the two congressional races. Even without competitive top-of-the-ticket races on the ballot, Republican voter turnout in yesterday’s primary increased from 2008, the last Presidential election year.
During yesterday's primary, 144,500 votes were cast in the two Republican congressional races. In 2008, the number was 126,573, according to the Secretary of State’s website. That is an increase of nearly 15 percent for Republican voters. On the other hand, the total Democrat primary votes in the congressional races dropped by over one-third from 2008 to 2012.
“This increase in the number of Republican voters in the two congressional races demonstrates the excitement and enthusiam that exists about our prospects for making Barack Obama a one-term president. We continue to build upon the momentum from our first-ever straw poll and the historic Super Tuesday Presidential Caucus in March, which included the nation's largest ever caucus in the state's capital city," said Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko. “But most of all, it shows that Idahoans are tired of the overreaching, big government policies of Barack Obama. The dramatic lack of Democrat turnout in Idaho is due to the anchor of Obama's failed liberal policies continuing to weigh them down.
Voter registration favored the Idaho GOP 10 to 1 before the primaries and will only balloon after the results from yesterday. We continue to invite all Idahoans to join us in the cause of liberty, freedom and economic prosperity as we work to defeat Obama and elect candidates that will continue to fight for our Idaho values.”