PoliticsPA: Turnout seen as low, with possible exception in the 12th

PoliticsPA on Tuesday afternoon asked an array of Pennsylvania political insiders, both Republican and Democrat and hailing from he eastern, central and western parts of the state, to describe what they have seen and heard about voter turnout.  Of course, these are still relatively early impressions, and afternoon turnout could change projections.

The general consensus among almost all was, as expected, turnout is low statewide, with the possible exception of the 12th District special election battle Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns. One factor reducing turnout could be rainy weather statewide.

Said Ellen Kaplan, vice president of the non-partisan Committee of Seventy, “Turnout continues to be low, thanks again to the rain.” The bad weather appears to have let up in at least western Pennsylvania, however, which could help motivate voters to visit the polls in the afternoon.

Said one Democratic insider: “A little below what we expected. Not bad but not great.”

The source added, “Upside – the precincts we need to perform are late-voting precincts.”

GOP turnout is expected to be particularly low, not surprising considering the party’s lack of a marquee race. That could turn out well for underdog Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer, whose top campaign adviser appeared giddy at projection so far. Rohrer has the support of many conservative activists and dedicated Republicans, meaning his voters are more likely to show up at the polls than the average voter.

“Just incredible,” Jeff Coleman, Rohrer senior strategist, said in an e-mail. “Low, low turnout. Overperformance in key conservative areas!”

The 12th District battle likely won’t break turnout records, but many familiar with the race have said its precincts are outperforming those in surrounding districts.

One GOP official described turnout statewide as “low, very low,” but said participation in the 12th has been “steady.”

Higher turnout would appear to hurt Burns, whose supporters polls said were much more likely to vote in this historically left-leaning district. The race still appears as a tossup in the eyes of most observers, however.

Turnout in Philadelphia, key for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Williams, certainly isn’t turning heads. Insiders have described it as anything from “very low” to “fair,” although Williams’ strategist told PoliticsPA he’s content with how things have turned out so far.

“So far turnout in Philadelphia has been as expected,” said Mark Nevins, Williams’ strategist. “What remains to be seen is whether it stays on track through the late afternoon and into the evening.”

One GOP insider predicted turnout would reach 29 percent, about 2.3 million voters.

May 18th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “PoliticsPA: Turnout seen as low, with possible exception in the 12th”

  1. Kathleen says:

    A Rohrer/Metcalfe upset would send a good, strong message to the Party bosses that voters are no longer willing to follow like sheep their handpicked candidates. Corbett, Cawley, Fitzpatrick project such a sense of entitlement one has to wonder what they know that the voters do not re the ultimate outcome of these elections.

  2. “One GOP insider predicted turnout would reach 29 percent, about 2.3 million voters.”

    No way. Except for Obama-Hilary in ’08, we haven’t approached that level in a primary, much less a non-presidential year. We had about 1.3 million in 2006 and 1.7 in 2002 – see http://www.fandm.edu/x4523 and http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=0

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