With 99 percent of the state’s precincts reporting in the Aug. 2 primaries, the Associated Press reported 281,719 votes in the GOP gubernatorial primary, up 42.5 percent from the 197,647 votes cast in the 2007 GOP primary election. For Democrats, the AP reported 394,663 votes cast in their primary, down 11.7 percent from the 446,746 case in the 2007 Democratic primary for governor.
At first blush those numbers suggest that Democratic primary participation was down but still superior to GOP numbers. But on additional review, those numbers are deceiving. At 394,663 votes in 2011, Democrats had the lowest turnout since 1947 – the year current Republican Gov. Haley Barbour was born – when 365,228 Democratic voters took part in the primary election.