Online Voter Registration: Who’s Really Choosing the Next POTUS?
With Super Tuesday behind us and the March 15th presidential primaries coming up next week, the race to Capitol Hill is officially in full speed – and so is the race to the voting booth. In months past, our presidential analyses has focused on the candidates themselves, but this month we’ve decided to turn our attention to the voters: who are they, and who are they supporting? Jumpshot decided to investigate online voter registration activity and browsing behavior to gain insights into voter demographics and candidate popularity.
To date, Americans can register to vote online in 30 states and Washington D.C., with a third of these states implementing this service within the past year (including Mississippi and Idaho). Online registration is without a doubt gaining momentum, as it simplifies a somewhat tedious task for both the state and the voters. It seems like it’ll only be a matter of time until every U.S. citizen will be able to register to vote online.
With that in mind, we analyzed the web traffic to all state-operated online registration websites between October 1, 2015 and February 24, 2016 to identify trends and evaluate candidate popularity based on voters’ online behavior. Read on for our data-driven findings.
The Leading States
With the help of the Jumpshot Competitive Analysis solution, we were able to quickly identify the states that are leading online voter registration activity, as well as those with the highest adoption rate. California takes first place, accounting for 20.3 percent of the national online registered voters. Second place goes to Pennsylvania with 10.6 percent of the total registered voters, and Illinois comes in third with 9.1 percent of the online registered voters. Residents of Colorado and Nevada display the highest online voter registration activity- people from these states are 2.63 and 2.12 times more likely to register to vote online than the general public.
Now that we know where most of the online voter registration activity originates from, it’s time to dive deeper into the data to identify state specific voter trends.
The Gender Divide
On a national level, men are slightly more likely to register to vote online, accounting for 59 percent of online voter registrations. But there are state-specific differences in the distribution of voters by gender. Males account for a whooping 70.3 percent of online voter registrants from Pennsylvania, while Connecticut has a more even split, with men accounting for 51.5 percent and women accounting for 48.5 percent of the online registrants.
Our data also reflects that the voters’ gender influences the candidate they support: Women that registered to vote online were 30 percent more likely to visit Hillary Clinton’s website, while men were 33 percent more likely to visit Donald Trump’s campaign website.
Now that we’ve covered voters’ gender and location it’s time to move on to their age.
Millennial Voters: Attracting the Younger Crowd
Much like the 2012 elections, young voter turnout has been a focus for the media. According to a recent US News article, millennials and baby boomer both represent a roughly equivalent share of the voting population. Our data reinforces this finding, indicating that millennials and baby boomers account for roughly 39 percent and 38 percent of the eligible voter population, respectively.
As for state-specific information, millennials account for 60+ percent of people registering to vote online in New York and Utah. Conversely, Colorado and Nevada see only a 24 percent share of millennial registrants, which is nearly 40 percent under the national average.
As for millennials’ preferred candidate, we analyzed millennial registrants’ online journeys and found that Bernie Sanders is the most popular candidate, capturing 55.6 percent of the millennial traffic. However, millennials from Virginia, Massachusetts and Louisiana are not as impressed with Sanders, resulting in Trump drawing a comparable amount of traffic to Sanders in these states.
Bottom line: The results of the state primaries can be surprising to voters. As our data shows, demographic splits can vary from state to state, and a particular demographic can have a substantial impact on the next POTUS. Millennials and baby boomers are the two most influential demographics in this race, but they differ in preferences and behavior. Presidential candidates must continue to utilize social media to capture and engage potential millennial voters while continuing to generate press coverage to appeal to older generations. We will continue to share our data-driven presidential insights with you as the race progresses, so stay tuned!