The datacrats have had a chance to look at who voted in the election. Given that the results were not what the Punditocracy expected, there are important lessons.
- There was less fall-off in the Youth Vote (under 30) than usual in a midterm. Of course, this group is heavily Democratic. The top reason for larger-than-expected turnout was reproductive freedom.
- Other key Democratic groups—viz., Blacks and Hispanics—did have significant turnout problems. Democrats compensated with continued inroads with high-propensity White college-educated voters.
- A number of registered Republicans rejected MAGA candidates, either voting for their opponents or leaving the race blank. For these voters, Trump’s threat to Democracy was the top issue. This is a mixed result for conventional wisdom. A great many races were decided by swing, independent, or split-ticket voters, which feeds the narrative that candidates must run to the center. On the other hand, the idea that “kitchen table” issues like inflation are the key to their vote was repudiated. (How Democrats were going to run on kitchen table issues in the current economy is not clear to me.)
- Republicans actually ran ahead of Democrats in total vote for House of Representatives, by about two points, depending how you handle uncontested races.
- Centrist Democrats and ex-Republicans see the result as a triumph for their breed of Democrats, pointing at wins like the biggest upset of the cycle, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in WA–03, who defeated a MAGA loon. They are very quiet, however, about moderate Democrats who lost badly, like Charlie Crist (FL–Gov), Val Demings (FL–Sen), and Cheri Beasley (NC–Sen), none of whom did better than some random Democrat would have. (Wins Above Replacement of 0.0 for the baseball stats fans.)
- The New York Democratic Party is a mess, losing any number of winnable races. Bad organizing and flat-footed campaigning. They couldn’t even detect—much less defeat—a pathological liar who may not even be eligible. Heads have to roll there.
- Second-worst performance was by the California Democrats. We need to know why. Chime in!
The MAGA penalty was as much as ten points: that’s the margin of victory in Arizona for the one ordinary-Republican statewide candidate in Arizona, the new State Treasurer. The other AZ races were within one point. In the Nevada Senate race, MAGA cost two points compared to the Governor. In Georgia, there were hundreds of thousands of Kemp–Warnock voters. (Not easy for me to see where Stacey Abrams goes from here. See also: Beto O’Rourke.)