Sat November 17, 2012
Low Voter Roll Off In Election
Missouri voter roll off was relatively low in this year’s election. Most voters who voted for President also voted for down-ballot candidates and issues.
Nearly 2.7 million Missourians cast a vote for President. That’s comparable to high profile races such as the governor race between Jay Nixon and Dave Spence and the U.S. Senate contest that pitted Claire McCaskill against Todd Akin.
Those number dropped slightly for other statewide races, such as Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Secretary of State. About 2.6 million Missourians voted in these races.
Southeast Missouri State University political science professor Jeremy Walling says issue salience, lack of interest, and lack of knowledge about the candidates.
“The information about the Presidential race was cheap for us to consume,” Walling said. “It was in our face all the time. The same thing is true with the Claire McCaskill-Todd Akin race. That information is crammed down our throats through the whole election cycle.”
Wallings says this helped many voters feel like they could walk into the voting booth and make an informed choice. Information was most costly to track down on down ballot races like Treasurer and Secretary of State.
Overall, Walling says voter roll off was not dramatic.
“Certainly, it seems like if people went in prepared to vote for President and Senate, they were also prepared to vote for the statewide executive offices,” Walling said.
Just over 66% of registered Missouri voters cast ballots in the election. That’s down from Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s projected 72% turnout.
Cape Girardeau County’s turnout was a little more than 67%.
The highest voter turnout in the state was Osage County, with 72%.
The lowest voter turnout was in Sullivan County in north central Missouri. Turnout there was 52%.