Who Didn’t Vote in the Florida and Michigan Democratic Primaries?

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One of the suggestions being made as a way out of this Florida/Michigan morass is simply to seat the delegates based on the actual vote. But is that fair, given that voters in those states had been told that the results wouldn’t count? How many Democrats decided not to vote as a result? Or decided to vote in the Republican race, which was for real?

In a new study, Wharton School Assistant Prof. Gregory Nini and liberal author Glenn Hurowitz try to figure that out, based on voter turnout in other states. Their conclusion:

Based on a statistical comparison with turnout in other states’ primaries, it appears that roughly two million more people would have voted in Florida and Michigan had they expected their delegates to be seated.

Although the Democratic turnout rate was impressive in Florida and Michigan, it was not nearly as high as it has been in other primaries so far. Of the first 37 states that have held either a primary or caucus for both Republicans and Democrats, only six states have had a larger turnout for Republicans than for Democrats: Florida and Michigan, plus heavily Republican Alaska, Alabama, and Utah, as well as Arizona, where many voters turned out to support home state favorite John McCain. In many other states, Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters by at least 3 to 2. Simply stated, in states where Democratic voters expected their delegates to count and the candidates spent time and money campaigning, Democratic turnout has vastly exceeded Republican turnout. The fact that Republicans outnumbered Democrats in Florida and Michigan suggests that many would-be Democratic voters in those states chose not to vote at a much higher rate than in other states.