Voter turnout for 2014 midterms worst in 72 years

Dylan Stableford
Voter turnout for 2014 midterms worst in 72 years

Voter turnout in last week's midterm elections was terrible. How terrible? Just 36.3 percent of eligible voters cast votes — the worst turnout in 72 years, the New York Times reports. Only the 1942 election (33.9 percent) had a lower rate of voter turnout.

Here's a quick breakdown, based on preliminary estimates of voting data from the United States Elections Project:

• Less than half of the eligible voters in 43 states cast votes.

• The seven that saw more than half: Maine, Wisconsin, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota and Iowa.

• No state cracked 60 percent.

• Maine, at 59.3 percent, had the highest voter turnout percentage-wise in the country.

• Indiana, at 28 percent, had the lowest.

• In California, Texas and New York — the three largest states in terms of population — less than a third of eligible voters voted.

• New York, at 28.8 percent, had the fourth lowest turnout rate in the country. "Shameful," the Times editorial board said.

Voter turnout in midterm elections is traditionally lower than in years with a general election. But 2014 was particularly low, down more than 5 percent from 2010, when 41.8 percent of eligible voters turned out at the polls.

One possible reason: Disillusionment with the White House. According to the exit polls, 54 percent of voters disapprove of President Barack Obama's performance as president, while 65 percent said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

"The American people sent a message, one they've sent for several elections now," President Barack Obama said on Nov. 5, a day after Republicans gained control of the Senate in a sweeping victory that was seen as both a referendum on his presidency and Washington in general. "They expect us to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done."

In other words: All of us. Fifty-three percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party and 56 percent have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, the exit polls showed (61 percent said they were dissatisfied or even angry with the Republican leaders in Congress). And just two in 10 voters said they trust the government in Washington to do what’s right all or most of the time.

"To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you," Obama continued. "To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in this process yesterday, I hear you, too. All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, that there's a path for young people to succeed, and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them."

Voter turnout by state in 2014

1. Maine 59.3%
2. Wisconsin 56.9%
3. Alaska 55.3%
4. Colorado 53.0%
5. Oregon 52.0%
6. Minnesota 51.3%
7. Iowa 50.6%
8. New Hampshire 48.8%
9. Montana 46.1%
10. South Dakota 44.6%
11. Kentucky 44.2%
12. North Dakota 44.1%
13. Louisiana 43.9%
13. Massachusetts 43.9%
15. Florida 43.1%
16. Kansas 42.8%
17. Connecticut 42.7%
17. Michigan 42.7%
19. Maryland 41.9%
20. Rhode Island 41.7%
21. Nebraska 41.3%
22. Arkansas 41.2%
23. North Carolina 40.7%
24. Vermont 40.2%
25. Illinois 39.5%
26. Idaho 39.1%
26. Wyoming 39.1%
28. Washington 38.6%
29. New Mexico 38.3%
30. Georgia 38.2%
31. Virginia 36.7%
32. Ohio 36.2%
33. Pennsylvania 36.1%
34. Hawaii 35.0%
35. South Carolina 34.9%
36. Delaware 34.5%
37. Arizona 34.4%
38. Alabama 33.5%
39. Missouri 32.3%
40. California 31.8%
40. Nevada 31.8%
40. West Virginia 31.8%
43. New Jersey 30.4%
44. Washington, D.C. 30.3%
45. Oklahoma 29.8%
46. Mississippi 29.7%
47. Tennessee 29.1%
48. New York 28.8%
48. Utah 28.8%
49. Texas 28.5%
50. Indiana 28.0%

Source: United States Election Project, Univ. of Florida