Average voter turnout in the 2012 statewide primaries – for president, governor and U.S. Senate – slumped to the lowest level since presidential primaries proliferated in 1972.
Based on the 41 states which held statewide primaries in both parties, turnout was 17.3 percent of eligible citizens. If the five states which held only Republican primaries are added to this total, turnout was 15.9 percent of eligible citizens. In all, 32,909,443 citizens voted out of an eligible citizen electorate for the states which held statewide primaries (five did not) of 207,581,000.
Turnout reached record lows for presidential election years in 15 of 41 states which held statewide primaries in both parties. Democratic turnout dropped to record lows in 26 of 41 primaries. In the 46 states where Republican primaries were held, there were eight record lows and three record highs.
Based on these results and other factors, it is likely that between 95 and 100 million eligible American citizens will not vote in November.
- Download the summary charts
- Download detailed charts and notes
- Download methodology and acknowledgements
- Read responses to the Democracy Project Forum question: Will voters turnout for the general election and is this indicative of increasing polarization in our politics?