What is clear is, the data so far do indicate that Trump has not yet significantly grown the Republican Party. There are small numbers of new voters who came to the polls this year, and in one state — New Hampshire — that might be enough to help Trump win. But in several other swing states — Virginia, Ohio and Michigan — if the Democrats can reassemble the Obama coalition, Trump’s new support is not enough to win.
Optimus, the data and analytics firm that worked for Rubio, focused its analysis on a few key states.
In Virginia, there was a stunning turnout in the Republican primary on March 1. More than three times the number of primary voters in 2012 came to the polls, a total of 1,025,452.
Of that total, 18.6 percent, or 190,734, were regular primary voters. But they were swamped by voters who usually only participate in general elections. That group made up 72.1 percent of the Republican primary electorate in Virginia. Younger voters who weren’t eligible for previous elections and those who moved into the state made up 3.6 percent.
Only 5.7 percent of the more than 1 million primary voters were new voters. That’s a total of 58,450 new voters.
To go further, Optimus looked at the results of almost 4,000 telephone surveys they did around the time of the primary. Using those responses, they built a model of the Virginia electorate, and found that of the 72 percent of voters who were new to the primary but usually voted in the general election, “the vast majority” were voters who were likely to support a Republican candidate already.
The same dynamic occurred when 0ptimus looked at Ohio. The Buckeye State saw 1,988,960 people come to the polls for the Republican primary this year, up from 1,213,879 in 2012 and 1,095,917 in 2008. Of those, some 53.6 percent were regular primary voters, and 36.8 percent were regular general election voters. Only 5.9 percent were new voters, yielding a total of roughly 118,000 votes.
The same scenario played out in Michigan, where there were a lot of new voters this year, about 119,000. Even so, Romney lost that state in 2012 by 450,000 votes.