Everywhere we turn in this 2010 election we see polls, polls, and more polls. Some polls we believe to be pretty reliable, including Rasmussen Reports, others are brushed off. Many people put a large emphasis on the data the polls tell us and in many cases this is the right course of action. The question is, is this the right way to look at the Delaware 2010 election?
I did a bit of delving into the voter turnout in Delaware for the last three elections and found some pretty interesting information, information which may have been overlooked by large national companies currently polling “500 likely voters” to determine how the 621,746 registered voters in the state of Delaware may vote.
The math on this data can get pretty intense, so I will put it in terms that won’t cause you to go hunting for that scientific calculator you thought you’d never use in real life (in other words, I went down the rabbit hole for you). Here’s what I found:
The population of Delaware is distributed in a pretty obvious way. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2009, Delaware had approximately 885,122residents (with 534,634 of those residents living in New Castle County, 157,741 of those residents in Kent County, and 192,747 of the residents living in Sussex County). From these numbers, we can see that approximately 3/5ths of Delaware’s population are residents in New Castle County while Kent County has a little less than 1/5th of the population and Sussex County has a little over 1/5th of Delaware’s population. I can guess what you are all thinking, “we know this already!” Delaware’sregistered voters are distributed in pretty much the same numbers as the population (with about 3/5ths in New Castle County, a little less than 1/5th in Kent County, and a little more than 1/5th in Sussex County). Once again, this is no revelation but common knowledge.
Here is the information I thought was really interesting. In the 2010 primary election, Sussex County Republicans had a huge turnout (almost 38%) while Sussex County Democrats came out at almost 13%. Kent County Republicans had a little over 28% of their registered voters turn out and about 9% of their registered Democrats vote. New Castle County Democrats had an approximate 12% voter turnout and New Castle County Republicans turned out at just over 28%. Do you see a pattern here?
When you examine the last mid-term election (2006), it is easy to overlook another interesting occurrence. The increase in voter turnout from the2006 primary election to the 2006 general electionwas higher in Sussex County than in New Castle County. The increase in voter turnout from the2006 primary election to the 2010 primary electionwas also higher in Sussex County than in New Castle County.
It seems that if you are a registered voter in Sussex County you may be more likely to vote than if you are a registered voter in New Castle County or Kent County. One wonders if major national polling companies, such as Rasmussen Reports, have taken the political awareness and dedication of the registered voters in Sussex County into consideration when they are contacting their “500 likely voters”.