With just 33,000 voters showing up to the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, Republicans may be quietly concerned about a lack of enthusiasm for their candidates — and especially front-runner Mitt Romney — after another primary state produces lower-than-expected turnout.
But not former New Hampshire governor John Sununu. The Romney campaign surrogate appeared on MSNBC this morning and offered a novel interpretation of the low figures:
SUNUNU: In an odd sense when turnout is down, contrary to what you are hearing, people are satisfied with the winning and the candidate that’s winning. They are satisfied with Mitt Romney.
In fact, a new poll out today shows that the more voters are learning about Romney, the less they like him.
Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian initially predicted as many as 70,000 Nevadans would participate in this year’s caucus, but final results show that fewer than half as many actually turned out. The 33,000 figure is not only lower than expectations, but more than 10,000 fewer than participated in Nevada’s caucus in 2008. And even though Romney topped 50 percent of the vote for the first time in this primary season in the sate, his vote total was more than 25 percent lower than it was in 2008, and his percentage of the vote fell slightly as well.
The results in Nevada mark the third Republican primary so far where turnout has been below 2008 levels. In a year where Republicans are counting on high enthusiasm to defeat President Obama, that’s not a good sign for the eventual nominee. In Florida, turnout dipped 14 percent, and in New Hampshire, which has an open primary, turnout among registered Republicans fell 16 percent: