10.31.10

The Most Political States

With the midterms hours away, attention shifts to turnout. The Daily Beast pores over 30 years of voting data to find out which states exercise their franchise (congrats Maine, Palin's Alaska, and Massachusetts), and which can’t be bothered (give Nevada, Georgia, and Texas the hook).

With the midterms hours away, attention shifts to turnout. The Daily Beast pores over 30 years of voting data to find out which states exercise their franchise (congrats Maine, Palin's Alaska, and Massachusetts), and which can’t be bothered (Nevada, Georgia, and Texas need to head to the polls).

Howard Kurtz: Beware the GOP Coronation

Tina Brown: Obama’s Morning-After Plan

Leslie H. Gelb: Give the People What They Want
Will California remain in Democratic column? Will Sharron Angle win Nevada? Will Mark Kirk hold President Obama’s seat in Illinois? The election foreplay is over—the advertisements have run, the candidate rallies have ended and the advertisements are on their last cycle through the airwaves. Now the results are up to the voters.

So where do the most passionate voters reside? To answer that question, we combed the last 30 years of voting registration and election data (enough to even out any effects if particular states have been especially competitive in recent years). Referring to the U.S. Census Bureau’s registration and turnout data for every federal election cycle (congressional and presidential) from 1978-2008, we calculated the average registration percentage and average voter-participation percentage for each state. And then for the final ranking, average percentage of voter turnout was weighted three times as much as the average percentage of voter registration.

The results show that, when it comes to voting, there truly aren’t blue states or red states—just engaged states (where 70 percent of eligible voters exercise their rights) and those that don’t much care (where less than half do).

1, Minnesota
Average voter registration rate: 83.8
Average voter participation rate: 69.8

2, North Dakota
Average voter registration rate: 91.1
Average voter participation rate: 66.3

3, Maine
Average voter registration rate: 83.0
Average voter participation rate: 65.1

4, South Dakota
Average voter registration rate: 77.1
Average voter participation rate: 65.5

5, Wisconsin
Average voter registration rate: 80.8
Average voter participation rate: 62.9

6, Oregon
Average voter registration rate: 75.5
Average voter participation rate: 64.3

7, Montana
Average voter registration rate: 74.0
Average voter participation rate: 64.8

8, Massachusetts
Average voter registration rate: 74.2
Average voter participation rate: 61.7

9, Alaska
Average voter registration rate: 74.2
Average voter participation rate: 61.5

10, Rhode Island
Average voter registration rate: 73.4
Average voter participation rate: 61.7

11, Iowa
Average voter registration rate: 74.2
Average voter participation rate: 60.5

12, Michigan
Average voter registration rate: 75.6
Average voter participation rate: 59.2

13, Connecticut
Average voter registration rate: 73.1
Average voter participation rate: 59.8

14, Wyoming
Average voter registration rate: 68.5
Average voter participation rate: 61.2

15, Vermont
Average voter registration rate: 74.6
Average voter participation rate: 59.1

16, Missouri
Average voter registration rate: 74.5
Average voter participation rate: 58.8

17, Nebraska
Average voter registration rate: 72.3
Average voter participation rate: 59.0

18, Colorado
Average voter registration rate: 70.5
Average voter participation rate: 59.1

19, Illinois
Average voter registration rate: 72.8
Average voter participation rate: 58.1

20, Idaho
Average voter registration rate: 68.7
Average voter participation rate: 59.5

21, Washington D.C.
Average voter registration rate: 71.5
Average voter participation rate: 57.7

22, Washington
Average voter registration rate: 70.6
Average voter participation rate: 57.9

23, Kansas
Average voter registration rate: 69.1
Average voter participation rate: 57.9

24, California
Average voter registration rate: 68.5
Average voter participation rate: 57.9

25, Utah
Average voter registration rate: 69.1
Average voter participation rate: 57.4

26, New Hampshire
Average voter registration rate: 69.9
Average voter participation rate: 56.5

27, Alabama
Average voter registration rate: 73.5
Average voter participation rate: 55.3

28, Mississippi
Average voter registration rate: 75.9
Average voter participation rate: 54.4

29, Louisiana
Average voter registration rate: 74.7
Average voter participation rate: 54.7

30, Maryland
Average voter registration rate: 69.1
Average voter participation rate: 56.4

31, Ohio
Average voter registration rate: 68.7
Average voter participation rate: 56.3

32, New Mexico
Average voter registration rate: 67.0
Average voter participation rate: 56.2

33, Oklahoma
Average voter registration rate: 69.4
Average voter participation rate: 54.8

34, New Jersey
Average voter registration rate: 69.9
Average voter participation rate: 54.3

35, New York
Average voter registration rate: 66.9
Average voter participation rate: 55.0

36, Delaware
Average voter registration rate: 67.2
Average voter participation rate: 54.4

37, Florida
Average voter registration rate: 67.5
Average voter participation rate: 54.2

38, Indiana
Average voter registration rate: 66.8
Average voter participation rate: 53.3

39, Pennsylvania
Average voter registration rate: 65.2
Average voter participation rate: 52.8

40, Hawaii
Average voter registration rate: 61.6
Average voter participation rate: 53.9

41, Virginia
Average voter registration rate: 65.8
Average voter participation rate: 51.6

42, Arkansas
Average voter registration rate: 65.5
Average voter participation rate: 51.3

43, Arizona
Average voter registration rate: 63.2
Average voter participation rate: 51.8

44, North Carolina
Average voter registration rate: 66.0
Average voter participation rate: 50.0

45, Kentucky
Average voter registration rate: 68.2
Average voter participation rate: 49.1

46, South Carolina
Average voter registration rate: 64.0
Average voter participation rate: 50.1

47, Tennessee
Average voter registration rate: 65.9
Average voter participation rate: 49.0

48, Texas
Average voter registration rate: 67.0
Average voter participation rate: 48.6

49, West Virginia
Average voter registration rate: 65.2
Average voter participation rate: 47.2

50, Georgia
Average voter registration rate: 63.9
Average voter participation rate: 47.4

51, Nevada
Average voter registration rate: 58.1
Average voter participation rate: 49.3