A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that Republican midterms wins in 2018 did not come down to defections from Democratic voters – rather, it was largely due to higher levels of partisan turnout.
The study analyzed voting patterns in a wide range of elections – including the 2018 midterms, gubernatorial elections, and special elections. These elections produced a wave of Republican victories and resulted in the GOP capturing control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2014.
The study found that the key to Republican electoral success in 2018 lay in higher levels of enthusiasm among Republican voters, and not a significant number of voters defecting from the Democratic Party.
The study highlighted the fact that the Democratic Party’s performance in 2018 fell short of its performance in the 2016 Presidential election. This was attributable to both lower levels of Democratic turnout, as well as a “significant” number of voters swapping their allegiance to the Republican Party.
That said, the study concluded that these factor do not explain the GOP’s success in 2018, with the main difference between 2016 and 2018 being “enthusiasm.” The study found that Republican voters turned out at levels that had not been seen since 2010, and this helped propel their candidates to victory.
The study also noted that Democratic candidates performed well in suburban districts that had previously been favorable for Republicans – but even in these districts, higher levels of Republican turnout drove GOP victories.
Overall, the data suggests that the GOP’s success in the 2018 midterms was down to higher levels of enthusiasm among Republican voters, and not Democratic defections. Therefore, Democrats should focus their efforts on turning out their own voters in future elections, rather than trying to win over Republican voters.