We now have the 3 p.m. turnout report in Salem.
So far, 49.32 percent of the city’s voters have cast a ballot, according to the registrar’s office.
At the same point four years ago, 55.17 percent of Salem voters had been to the polls.
Four years ago, Salem went strong for Republican John McCain. He took 57 percent of the vote there, so any drop-off in the Salem tally would seem to suggest fewer votes for Mitt Romney. Of course, we’ve also seen drop-offs in Democratic strongholds, too, such as Roanoke. We don’t have enough data yet, but I’m wondering if, after all the excitement of 2008, we’re seeing turnout return to what might be called “normal” levels? Something to keep an eye on.
Of course, the question with all these figures is: If turnout is down, who is it down among? For instance, maybe the people not turning out in Salem were the “occasional” voters who backed Obama four years ago, and the people turning out are the “regulars” who are strong for Romney. Or does it suggest Republican enthusiasm wasn’t quite what it was billed as?
We’ll find out in a few hours, eh?
– Dwayne Yancey