SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Election Day is around the corner and Californians have been voting for three weeks. Given the data on who has voted so far, it does not point to a big surge for Democrats.
There are scores of first time candidates running for office but actual voter turnout in California so far has been average for a midterm election.
KPIX 5 talked to an expert who says, this trend is bad news for Democrats.
“What we’re seeing in the early returns though, is that the early returns are largely coming from those older, whiter, homeowners, more Republicans,” said Paul Mitchell, Vice-President of Political Data, Inc. “And young voters are not returning their ballots at the same rate.”
For years, Mitchell’s firm has tracked absentee ballots and finds it is common for older, more conservative voters to send in their ballots early.
But this year, Democrats are hoping for a so-called “blue wave” and so far, it hasn’t happened.
“To put it plainly, Democrats won’t be able to flip these congressional seats if young voters don’t turn out,” said Mitchell.
For Democrats, the path to winning a majority in the house includes flipping seven congressional seats in Central and Southern California. Mitchell says, to do that, Democrats need exceptionally high voter turnout.
“They’re gonna have to see an outsized turnout from young people, and Independents and Democrats who are gonna vote Democratic tickets that is nothing like we’ve seen in a gubernatorial general election in modern history,” said Mitchell.
So far, that is not happening.
Among 18-to-34 years old who vote by mail in those districts, an average of 6 percent have voted and more ballots have been returned by Republicans than Democrats in 6 of the 7 districts
Mitchell says, even with this slow start, Democrats could still win those seats.
“That’s not to say it can’t be done, it’s just to say, if and when it does happen, we should be pretty amazed,” he said.
Right now, California has historically high voter registration – nearly 20 million people thanks to the Motor Voter Program and other registration efforts. But the data so far shows, even as the registrations have gone up, the turnout has stayed the same.
The number of people voting in this mid-term election so far, is similar to 2014, and far less than 2010.