Interest in the presidential campaign remains high and should result in a relatively strong voter turnout in the June 7 primary election in San Diego County, according to an analysis released Monday by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.
NUSIPR Senior Policy Analyst Vince Vasquez, who authored the report, projected turnout will be around 50-53 percent. That would be far above the 37.4 percent turnout in the 2012 primary election, but below the 60.7 percent in 2008.
Donald Trump is the last standing Republican presidential hopeful after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich dropped out of the race last week. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Indiana primary barely dented a large lead in delegates held by Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
According to Vasquez, the controversial and polarizing nature of the major parties’ potential nominees is sustaining interest in the campaign.
Voter registration has soared since Jan. 1, and the additions are younger, more diverse and lean more Democratic than the overall San Diego electorate, said Vasquez, who issued the report on the first day of early voting for the election.
“The presidential race is casting a shadow over local elections, despite the high probability that both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are effectively over,” Vasquez said.
“In San Diego County, many of these new voters that have been added to the rolls fit the profile of Bernie Sanders supporters,” he said. “There isn’t any evidence that their motivation is waning. It’s a good bet that they will be heard this election cycle.”
He said the new voters could tip the scales in the San Diego City Attorney’s race, in which five candidates are battling to reach the November runoff election. There are 57,000 newly registered voters in the city of San Diego, according to the report.
If the NUSIPR turnout projection holds, between 734,000 and 778,000 ballots will be cast in San Diego County for the June 7 election.
Registered voters who want to cast ballots early can do so beginning Monday at the Registrar of Voters Office, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., 5600 Overland Ave.
—City News Service