GOP official: Stats show Idaho Dems are 'bleeding support'

The back-and-forth over Tuesday's closed GOP primary — and the ultimate voter turnout — just keeps on keeping on.

Today, Idaho GOP rules committee chairman Ronald M. Nate weighed in with a statistical analysis on the 2008, 2010 and 2012 primaries, and suggested the turnout reveals a sharp decline in Democratic voters.

It's a bit more detailed look at the numbers than the shallow quick hit sent out Wednesday by the Idaho GOP, comparing the vote counts from 2008 and 2012. As Nate rightly notes, it's not easy to compare results from one election to the next. But his takeaway focuses on the drop in the Democratic vote from 2008 to 2010 to 2012.

"To the remaining Democrats: Rather than carping that Republican rules are killing turnout, perhaps you and your party could do something to improve turnout. Maybe some better ideas, better attitudes, or more candidates would help?"

But this isn't just about getting in a dig at the Democrats. As the Republican state convention approaches — and some Republicans publicly float the idea of revisiting the party primary rules — look for more intraparty debate about the results of the inaugural closed primary.

Here is Nate's essay:

Idaho Democrats have a problem. They are bleeding support. With all the speculation about the Republicans' move to closed primaries possibly hurting voter turnout; the actual vote totals tell a startling story.

To make a fair comparison, let’s look at voting in both U.S. congressional races from 2008, 2010, and 2012. In both districts the votes went up and then down over the three primary elections.

Congressional District 1 (western and northern Idaho)
2008 2010 2012
Democrat votes: 19,449 11,407 10,076
Republican votes: 68,340 81,288 71,774
Total: 87,789 92,965 81,850

Congressional District 2 (eastern and southern Idaho)
2008 2010 2012
Democrat votes: 16,652 13,291 12,427
Republican votes: 58,233 77,458 72,726
Total: 74,885 90,749 85,153

Now, elections from different years are not directly comparable. There are different candidates, different races (U.S. Senate races in 2008 and 2010, but not 2012), different intensities (the gubernatorial and congressional contests in 2010 were especially heated), and different election formats and rules. So, zeroing in on changes due to closed primaries is not as easy as it sounds. Also, looking at percentage turnout can be misleading, especially because of the registration push this year. (Higher registrations increase the denominator in calculating the percent turnout, making turnout look lower even though more Idahoans may be participating.)

Perhaps the two most comparable races — although not perfect — are the 2008 and 2012 contests (both being presidential election years). Notice, that compared to 2008, the 2012 numbers were down in CD1, but higher in CD2. That’s a mixed result, giving no clear answer about how turnout was affected by changing primary rules.

The most dramatic story is how the Idaho Democratic Party is in serious trouble. Look at the trend for the Democrat voting across the three elections. In both congressional districts, the votes for Democrats trended down. This is despite the overall totals spiking in 2010 and dropping again in 2012. Democrat voting is in free-fall.

The same trends held for local counties as well. In both Bonneville and Madison counties, the Republican and totals spiked in 2010 and went down again in 2012. For the Democrats, though, the numbers steadily declined from 2008 to 2012. In fact, the Bonneville Democrat voting last Tuesday was less than half what it was in 2008.

There has been some talk about how the Republicans' move to closed primaries was hurting turnout. Not so; Republican voting increased from 126,573 in 2008 to 144,500 on Tuesday. Perhaps some Democrats registered as Republicans. If so, welcome aboard!

To the remaining Democrats: Rather than carping that Republican rules are killing turnout, perhaps you and your party could do something to improve turnout. Maybe some better ideas, better attitudes, or more candidates would help?

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Funny...that the ID GOP is the party with internal strife.

Why are they trying to deflect from their own issues so badly?

I find it amusing they feel the need to not address the discontent within their own rank and file. Says much that they refuse to stick to actual facts.

Democrat turnout

If there are no contested races, what purpose does voting make? Well you might vote in the Democratic primary to show support for the party in general, but it is a hassle to perform a near meaningless act. In the end I voted in the Democratic primary. It made no difference though. I guess it was wasted time except for this comment.

I will vote straight Democrat this fall, however. Then, my candidates will still mostly lose, but some will win where I live. My vote might make a difference this fall. Not having to face a primary contest will give them a little lift they wouldn't have if they had to fight off primary rivals.

Me too...

I am an Independent voter, "unaffiliated" so to speak, who also voted in the Democratic primary. And I will also vote a straight Democratic ticket this fall. The GOP may see a different turn of events in November. Many of us are sick to death of the good-old-boy politicians and corruption in our beautiful state. I am for term limits, new thinking, funding for education with teachers in the classroom, and anything I believe to be positive for this state.

This year I am in a different congressional district, which gives me an opportunity to use my vote for term limits.

Independent Voter

Seems to me voting a straight Democratic ticket makes you a Democrat...not an Independent.

Look at California and its Democrat leadership. The great liberal experiment in California has failed! California's economy and gov't are in the toilet. They are broke and people are leaving California in droves for Idaho & other places.

Why would anyone pursue the same liberal, California politics for Idaho by voting Democratic? Do you want Idaho to fail just like California has? Why would anyone expect different or better results from Democrat leadership here in Idaho from that of California.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

and I'll be voting a

and I'll be voting a straight ticket also BUT unlike you, it will be Republican. Should be interested this November. Though you democrats may have added a few more to your voting rolls.

53,000 'Dead Voters' Found in Florida... LOL :)

dead voters?

Must be the ones who "elected" Bush....

Let them prove these people are dead.

Why are people who are alive being purged???

out of touch with fellow Republicans

Mr. Nate,
You’ve developed a tin ear. Are you so out of touch with fellow Republicans that you are deaf to the concerns of many about the mind numbing 6 hour Caucus and the “closed” primary? How has Misters Denny and Hill’s “baby steps” to ethics legislation worked out for the Party? Better ideas? Better attitudes? Turnout? This Republican can’t wait until the next election.

Oh….Mr. Nate, did you perform a similar statistical analysis to identify support for defunding public education? Boise School District residents—Republicans and Democrats—were forced to pass the levy to mitigate damages to the Boise School District by Idaho Legislators..

All the carping

I have heard is coming from the repubs. Seems weird that Nate is trying to deflect the internal power struggle of his own party by bringing the dems into the discussion...

Graymatter, A sharper person

would have figured out that it is because the Dimocrat party is so weak that many who would normally identify with that party run as Republicans.Hence the term RINO.

Personal attacks, excuses and deflection make no sense.

If a person is registered as a Republican or is elected as a Republican, they are a Republican.
This is not rocket science - it's a fairly simple concept.

Trying to ignore facts to explain Idaho GOP in-fighting is super silly.

in other news, rocks hard, water wet

Would we have expected the Republicans to say anything else?

Wow, does Mr. Nate actually

Wow, does Mr. Nate actually think Idahoans are this stupid? There are practically no close races in the Idaho Democratic party, thus Democrats do not turn out. I think District 19 was the only place there was a close Democratic race this time. I know some Ada County Dems who registered Republican this time to vote in the county commissioner primary and get rid of Sharon Ullman.