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Michael P. McDonald
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Dr. Michael P. McDonald is Associate Professor of Government and Politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Entries by Michael P. McDonald

Only Some Southern Whites Are the New Blacks (and Many Are Not)

(56) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 2:06 AM

Southern Whites didn't vote for Obama (and by association, won't vote for Democrats). So argues the New York Times' Nate Cohn in a provocative piece entitled "Southern Whites' Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats." Mr. Cohn goes on to warn, "The collapse of Democratic support...

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Does Turnout Doom Democrats in 2014?

(18) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 3:31 PM

I love turnout stories. There is a spooky one being told around Democratic campfires that goes something like this: Democrats will lose big in 2014 when Democrats disappear from the electorate.

All good scary stories have an element of truth. Yes, Democratic turnout is comparatively lower...

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Early Voting Looking Promising for McAuliffe

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 1:30 PM

Virginia early voting turnout data point in a similar direction as the polls that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is doing substantially better than the Democratic ticket did four years ago.

The method of early voting provides the first piece of evidence. As of Election Day morning, the number...

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North Carolina Speeds Up to Run Election Red Light?

(44) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 3:36 PM

Republicans are at it again, making it harder to vote. This time, North Carolina Republicans are contemplating reducing the number of days of in-person early voting, including the Sunday before the election; axing the state's "one-stop" voting which allows people to register and vote in-person early,...

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Geography Does Not Necessarily Lead to Pro-Republican Gerrymandering

(27) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 3:13 PM

In 2012, Republicans won control of the House of Representative despite Democratic candidates winning a combined 1.5 million more votes than Republican candidates. How is this possible? The aggregation of votes into single-member districts through redistricting is the cause. It has happened before. Similar anti-majoritarian outcomes occurred in the 2000...

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A Modest Early Voting Rise in 2012

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 4:29 PM

The percentage of voters who cast their ballot before Election Day modestly increased from 29.7 percent to 31.6 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a Census Bureau survey.

The Current Population Survey, November Voting and Registration Supplement asks respondents if they voted on Election Day or before Election Day....

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2012 Election: A Failure to Mobilize the Youth Vote

(12) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 4:44 PM

Among the most dramatic findings reported in the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) is a large decline in turnout rates among young people, particularly those who were first eligible to vote in the 2012 election. In contrast, older persons' turnout rates remained steady, or even increased. Given...

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2012 Turnout: Race, Ethnicity and the Youth Vote

(71) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 4:59 PM

An important election survey that reveals patterns in voting and registration is the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey November Voting and Registration Supplement, or CPS for short. The 2012 CPS reveals insights to major stories about the election divined from the exit polls: the changing face of the...

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Who Registers to Vote Online?

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 2:02 PM

A sensible election administration reform is quietly sweeping the nation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states have implemented or recently adopted online voter registration, either initiating a new registration or updating an old one. Twelve other states have legislation winding its way through the...

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Reassessing Colorado's Turnout

(6) Comments | Posted April 14, 2013 | 3:17 PM

Colorado legislators are contemplating changes to their election laws this week that may result in higher turnout. A report issued by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler figures prominently in the deliberations, which triumphantly touts "the most successful (election) in Colorado history," implying that no changes...

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Turnout in the 2012 Presidential Election

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 12:09 PM

The reelection of Barack Obama was tarnished by a lower voter turnout rate than 2008, dropping from 61.6% of those eligible to vote to 58.2%, or a decrease of 3.4 percentage points. Here, I place the 2012 turnout rate in historical perspective and analyze where turnout decreased, and...

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How Did People Vote and Who Did They Vote for?

(11) Comments | Posted January 13, 2013 | 10:16 PM

You know who won the 2012 presidential election. What you may not know is which candidate did best among the different ways that people vote.

A few states report their election results by how people voted: mail ballots, in-person early voting, Election Day voters, people who cast a provisional ballot,...

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Democrats Leaving Mail Ballots on the Table

(52) Comments | Posted November 3, 2012 | 2:48 PM

Both figurative and literally, registered Democrats are leaving requested mail ballots on the table. Democrats are returning the mail ballots at a lower rate than Republicans, leading to wide disparities among the ballots that have been cast compared to the ballots that are still sitting on kitchen tables across the...

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Early Voting Mesmerizing

(113) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 9:27 PM

With more than 10 million people already casting a ballot, early voting is on pace likely to exceed the 41 million cast in 2008. Next week will be crunch time as millions of people across the country cast ballots.

Everyone wants to know who is winning. In my commentary below...

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Early Voting Spinning

(267) Comments | Posted October 19, 2012 | 3:34 PM

Now with over 3 million people voting across the country, the campaigns are spinning the early vote. Here are my takeaways so far:

Iowa is firming up for Obama. The early vote confirms the polls showing an Obama lead, but by a narrower margin than 2008. Romney still has time...

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Early Voting Rising

(255) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 7:01 PM

More than 800,000 people have already voted in the 2012 general election. A clearer picture of the potential 2012 electorate is emerging in some states where election officials are providing information on who has voted.

Early voting -- both mail and in-person -- is on pace to exceed 2008...

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Early Voting Status Report

(100) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 2:30 PM

Early voting is now underway.

All states were required by federal law to deliver military and overseas ballots last Saturday and as of Thursday, Sept. 27, all but twenty-one states have reached their deadlines to start early voting for domestic civilians. Within some of these latter states --...

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Absentee Ballot Applications Down by Nearly Half in NC

(31) Comments | Posted September 9, 2012 | 2:46 PM

We are beginning to get the first early voting statistics out of North Carolina, which started mailing absentee ballots on Friday, Sept. 7. Election officials report delivering 21,875 mail ballots as of Saturday, Sept. 8, and two ballots were accepted. Congratulations Daniel and Justin, you are the first two people...

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Early Voting Has Started in NC

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 11:39 AM

And we're off!

The first mail ballots have been sent to North Carolina voters. As of Friday mid-morning, election officials have mailed 5,085 ballots to 17,724 voters who submitted requests.

North Carolina is the first state to start early voting by mail. Indiana and Kentucky will be next up on...

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Early Voting in 2012: What to Expect

(7) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 4:19 PM

Early voting in recent American elections has skyrocketed, reaching a record thirty percent of all votes cast in the 2008 presidential election, remarkably higher than the twenty percent cast in 2004. All indications are the record will be shattered again in 2012, with somewhere around thirty-five of the vote cast...

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