More voters expected with presidential primaries for both parties

More voters expected with presidential primaries for both parties

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Political experts predict more people will turnout to vote because both parties are holding primaries.

There are nearly 3 million registered voters in our state and Associate Political Professor at Coastal Carolina University, Frederick Wood, says more people tend to vote when both parties hold primaries.

In other words, because President Obama has served his two terms and vice president Joe Biden is not running to continue the Obama legacy, past numbers show more people will hit the polls for the primaries.

Wood says South Carolina usually has a 30 percent to 40 percent voter turnout for the primaries and a 50 percent to 60 percent turnout come the general election.

Though this is higher than other states, Wood says it's important to know South Carolina has a different voting structure. The two parties hold elections on different days and we also have an open primary, meaning the voters can choose whether we want to vote democrat or republican.

As for numbers, Wood explains Republican numbers are traditionally higher.

"We should see 600,000 or more Republican's turnout, and the Democratic race should have 500,000 to 600,000 voters," Wood explained.

Wood further explains South Carolina primaries have proven to be very telling in presidential elections in more ways than one.

"Until the last election, when Newt Gingrich won in 2012, South Carolina was what we would call a bell weather state. Going back to Ronald Reagan in 1980, every Republican nominee had won South Carolina," Wood said.

"On the one hand it provides momentum, on the other hand it would be what we call a firewall where you can stop an insurgent candidate. Somebody that perhaps wins Iowa, like Rick Santorum did in 2012, but by the time he gets to South Carolina, his momentum has stalled out and Mitt Romney finishes in second place," Wood added.

Even though Wood says South Carolina is traditionally a 2 to 1 Republican state, we can expect some answers to big questions on the Democratic side of this race, one being: is Bernie Sanders a serious challenger for Hillary Clinton?

"Whether or not voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, where they spend a lot of time, states like Nevada and South Carolina, where they haven't spent a lot of time, is the message that they are trying to put out resonating with voters here," Wood said.

Wood says within the next couple of weeks, we can also expect a wave of drop outs.

"So maybe one or two after the first elections in Iowa and New Hampshire, a couple more after South Carolina, and really after super Tuesday in early March is where we'll see the most drop out," Wood explained.

"After South Carolina, we should really see a winnowing of the Republican field, we need to get down to less than half a dozen for people to make serious choices," Wood added.

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