If Donald Trump has one undisputable achievement during the first two years of his presidency, it’s that he has succeeded in increasing the political engagement of a large share of the American public.
Preliminary figures for nationwide turnout in the 2018 mid-term elections are in, and they’ve reached a mark not seen in more than a century. Across the US, 49.2% of the voting age public cast ballots. In 2014 that number was 37%, and the average over the last few decades has hovered around 40%.
The last time turnout for a mid-term topped 50% was 1914 – before women had the vote in the US.
In some states, the numbers were even higher. According to the United States Elections Project, 64.3% of eligible Minnesotans voted. Washington (57.8%) and Colorado (62.2%) also had high numbers, thanks in part to a heavy reliance on voting by mail.
Even states with lower 2018 turnout saw sharp increases over recent mid-terms. In Texas enthusiasm generated by Democrat Beto O’Rourke (who was narrowly defeated) helped boost turnout to 46.1%, compared to 28.3% in 2014. Georgia, which had a contentious governor race, saw an increase from 38.6% to 55%.