The Conservative Treehouse posted several articles that caught my attention about “The Monster Vote”. This the roughly 100 million people in the US eligible to vote who don’t vote. His claim is that these traditional non-voters are voting for Trump.
And his evidence from primary turnout matched his predictions very well, so much that it inspired my to do my own analysis and try to come up with what I think the “Monster Vote” could be.
1. Primary Turnout
This year Republican Primary turnout was higher than Democrat Primary turnout.
In the 2008 general election, Democrats had 69.5 million, Republicans had 58.1 million.
But we have a million dollar question: is the increase in GOP primary turnout a result of the party faithful voting, or is it new voters voting?
And the second million dollar question: is the decline in DNC primary turnout a result of the party faithful staying home, or is it the voters who were just excited about Obama leaving?
And so I thought about how to answer it. And then I thought about Ted Cruz vs. Trump, how Trump did better in open primaries, while Cruz did better in closed primaries, since closed primaries just had the party faithful voting, while open primaries could bring in new voters, and bingo! That’s how we can get a sense of it, compare the GOP increase in open vs. closed primaries, and the DNC decline in open vs. closed primaries.
2. Open vs. Closed Primary Turnout Increase / Decrease from 2008 and 2016
GOP Primary Turnout in 2008 and 2016
|Primary Type||Percent Turnout|
|GOP Closed 2008||8.83%|
|GOP Open 2008||11.42%|
|GOP Closed 2016||10.58%|
|GOP Open 2016||18.83%|
Difference Between Open and Closed GOP Primary Increases
DNC Primary Turnout in 2008 and 2016
|Primary Type||Percent Turnout|
|Dem Closed 2008||14.83%|
|Dem Open 2008||20.83%|
|Dem Closed 2016||13.25%|
|Dem Open 2016||14.67%|
Difference Between Open and Closed DNC Primary Decreases
3. Implications for the GOP
The fact that the increase in Republican primary turnout is more from open primaries than closed primaries is evidence in favor of the “monster vote” hypothesis. Since the “monster vote” hypothesis would predict that the increase in GOP primary turnout would come more from people who aren’t registered Republicans, and thus would appear bigger in open primaries than closed primaries.
The difference in primary turnout for the GOP between 2008 and 2016 is 11.8 million. The increase in closed primaries is 19.82%, the increase in open primaries is 64.89%, implying that the non-traditional republican voters is 45.02%.
45.02% is 66.38% of the total increase in open primaries of 64.89%. If we multiply this by 11.8 million, this gives us 7.83 million. This is the lower bound estimate of how many non-republicans voted in the GOP primary. This gives us an idea of how many people Trump brought in, or the “Trump effect”. Though it’s not necessarily just Trump bringing them in. Whatever the cause, we’ll call this number the “Little Monster”.
However, closed GOP primary states represent 265 electoral votes in the general election, while open primary states only represent 178 electoral votes, and the rest are hybrid and I don’t know how those are counted in a binary “open / closed” way. If we assume the potential voters is roughly the same as the electoral votes of those states, then open primaries only represents 40.1% of the potential voters.
This implies that the real non-republican voters who wanted to vote in the primaries was actually 19.53 million. We’ll call this the “Big Monster”. I did it based on electoral votes because I’m too lazy to go state-by-state and count populations.
4. Implications for the DNC
The analysis for the Democrats goes in reverse. The decline from 2008 is 6.66 million. The decline for open primaries was 29.57%, the decline for closed primaries was only 10.65%. This implies that non-traditional democrat voters make up 64.0% of the decline, which translates to 4.26 million. We’ll call this the “Little Decline”.
But like with the GOP, open primaries are only a part of the democrat primaries. Open primaries represent 201 electoral votes, closed primaries represent 173 electoral votes (again the rest are mixed, which I don’t know how to classify, and I just split that difference.
Since open primaries only represent 53.74% of electoral votes, assuming they roughly represent 53.74% of voters in the democrat primary, this implies that the real decline of non-traditional democrats who wanted to vote in the democrat primary is actually 7.93 million. We’ll call this the “Big Decline”.
5. Implications for the General Election
The implications are complicated. The simplest thing to do would be to just add on the declines or gains from the 2008 numbers:
|GOP “Little Monster”||65.93 million|
|GOP “Big Monster”||77.63 million|
|GOP “Giant Monster”||110.83 million|
|DNC “Little Decline”||65.24 million|
|DNC “Big Decline”||61.57 million|
|DNC “Giant Decline”||52.85 million|
The “Giant Monster” is an absurd value that simply takes the “Big Monster” increase of 19.53 million and multiplies it by the typical difference between GOP primary and general election turnout. In the general election, GOP turnout is typically 2.7 times higher, and so this would imply a general election turnout of 110.83 million. This is more of a thought experiment than a serious prediction.
However, just putting these modifiers over the 2008 numbers is probably not the best assumption for the GOP given the activation of the cuckoldry within the Republican party.
GOP Cuckoldry comes in two forms: establishment and purity spiraling.
The establishment cuckolds would be the Bush family and John Kasich, these are people who are either indifferent to white interests and the vitality of whites to the GOP, or they know and don’t care because they’re only interested in their narrow, short-term electoral success and ease of life within the political sphere. And to get along with liberals, you have to cuck, and often you cuck so much that you begin to believe that cuckoldry is the “adult” or “mature” thing to do, when really it’s just selling your people and everything you believe in down the river for the phantom of “respectability”. It’s selfish and short-sighted, the opposite of maturity.
Purity spiraling would be the Ted Cruz types. Ted Cruz demands an extremely narrow and stupid adherence to what he imagines to be “conservative values”, and that includes not fighting back when you are attacked by Ted Cruz. These are spiteful cuckolds who won’t vote for Trump because they thought this was “their turn” and demand purity for their pointless positions on abortion and homosexuality.
They will happily vote against Trump and watch the US burn to the ground so they can prance around in their little cowboy costumes and say “I told you so”.
Some, we’ll call them spitroast cuckolds, manage to twist their minds in a gordian knot to where they can both do the purity spiral and be the “adult in the room”. These savants of nonperformance are committed to both keeping the appeal of the GOP extremely narrow and thin and about really stupid things (purity), but are also committed to not doing anything meaningful once they get elected (establishment / “adult in the room”).
So the cuckolds from either camp represent a wildcard that would depress GOP turnout. They also create a problem because they will create the impression that Trump is in the wrong during any media attack; because we will see “fellow republicans” condemning Trump along with the democrats. If the Republicans simply rallied around Trump, each media attack would just be “the media vs. Trump”, with the predictable battle-lines and the usual suspects on either side. But since “fellow republicans” are attacking Trump, it appears more serious. Obama was very quick to capitalize on GOP cuckoldry and use it to attack Trump.
The democrat numbers are derived the same way but in reverse, simply taking the declines and subtracting them from the 2008 turnout. The “Giant Decline” simply blows up the “Big Decline” primary estimate onto the scale of general election turnout. Again, the “Giant” number is more of a thought experiment than a serious prediction.
But one thing to consider is that there are likely many low-info voters who just start paying attention during the general election. These low-info voters are easily tricked by quote-attacks, and Trump is very susceptible to quote-attacks by the media due to his extemporaneous speaking style.
A quote-attack would be like taking a quote out of context (saying that Trump attacked the La Raza judge for being Mexican), treating a joke like something serious (saying he wanted to throw a baby out of a rally), or even completely making something up (such as the “private conversation” an aide supposedly had where Trump says he wants to use nukes in foreign policy more often). Now people who follow the election or listen to full speeches don’t usually fall for quote-attacks, but low-info people do.
And these low-info people will imagine that everyone around them voting for Trump must be really stupid because they are unaware of all the stupid / horrible things Trump has said, and it’s so obvious to them; when in reality these unduly confident shitstains are the ones behind the curve, and they get really proudmad when you point this out to them.
6. If the “Monster Vote” is real, why isn’t it showing up in general election polls?
Well there’s one obvious answer to why it’s not showing up in general election polls: the “Monster Vote” isn’t real. That certainly would explain it!
Another depressing answer is that the “Monster Vote” to some extent is real, and Trump is getting it, but is still losing anyway.
But then we get into the third possiblity: the pollsters aren’t weighing the “Monster Vote” demographic correctly this election.
Because when pollsters do their polls, they sample and weight respondents in various ways; party ID, age, race, income, and “Monster Voters” tend to not vote in most elections, and so pollsters may not be giving the kinds of people who make up the “Monster Vote” their “proper” weightings in their polls.
Relevant to this theory is that “Monster Voters” tend to have low “education” and lower incomes – and so if pollsters weight by education and income based on past elections, and if in this election we are going to get more “Monster Voters”, then they will underestimate Trump’s support by underweighting the kind of people who will vote for him.
Frankly, I have no idea how they would capture this group, because their weightings are based on past elections, and while we can project primary turnout to get some estimate, there’s no real way for pollsters to tell if the voting demographics in 2016 are going to be radically different from 2012.
In other words: polls showing Trump losing at the time of this article are based (loosely) on the 2012 electorate because that’s how pollsters weigh it. If the new voters are radically different from past elections, all bets are off. Pollsters could guesstimate the size of the “Monster Vote”, but I have no clue how they would factor it in. So they don’t.
(That said, pollsters are overweighting democrats, and underweighting republicans and independents assuming 2012 turnout projected onto current party ID numbers).
The new open primary GOP voters amount to 7.83 million, and the lost open primary DNC voters amount to 4.26 million. That’s a swing of 12.09 million from 2008. And that ignores any projection of would-be new GOP voters and lost Dem voters in closed primaries, and it ignores any projection onto the general election. There was some rumblings that fear of Trump would mobilize Democrat turnout; well we haven’t seen it in the primaries. Maybe the “Trump fear” vote will turn up in the general election.
In 2008 republicans lost by 11.4 million votes. The “Little Monster” and “Little Decline” would bridge that gap with 609k left over.
Anecdotally, the size of Trump rallies is visual evidence of the “Monster Vote”. That there is a new “kind of person” voting for Trump; because Mitt Romney voters didn’t really go to Romney rallies. And so it appears that Trump is attracting a new kind of people – the kind of people who will go to a political rally – which is evidence in favor of the “Monster Vote”.
7. Aren’t you just “unskewing” like they did in 2012?
It’s certainly possible. But there’s a few key differences:
My “unskewing” is based on a new bloc of voters that the pollsters have no way of knowing about until they vote, and can only make vague guesstimates based on primary votes. Whereas the 2012 “unskewing” was based on saying the pollsters were idiots.
– Donald Trump gets big rallies, Romney didn’t.
– The 2016 GOP primary saw an apparent influx of people who don’t traditionally vote in GOP primaries, the 2012 primary didn’t.
– Donald Trump is a radically different candidate than Romney was. This creates a possibility for new voters.
It doesn’t make much sense to argue too much, because the reality or unreality of this “Monster Vote” will be discovered in around 90 days.