New Census Bureau data show nearly 36 percent of the state’s registered voters who did not cast a ballot sat out because they didn’t like their choices: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. That percentage tops the nation.
What’s the No. 1 reason that millions of Americans sat out the election in 2016?
Answer: The candidates themselves, according to new survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Of the registered voters who stayed home in November, 1 in 4 said it was because of a dislike of the candidates or campaign issues — nearly double the percentage from the 2012 election.
It’s also the first time since 1996, when the Census Bureau began asking nonvoters about their reasons, that dislike of the candidates was the top response.
When you consider who was running for president, it isn’t all that surprising. Both major-party candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, had historically low election-eve favorability ratings.
Nowhere was the electorate more disgusted with the choices than right here in Washington.
Nearly 36 percent of registered voters in the state who didn’t cast a ballot sat out the election because they didn’t like the candidates. That percentage ranks Washington No. 1 among the 50 states, and the District of Columbia.
It’s a striking increase from 2012, when only 16 percent of the state’s nonvoters gave that as their primary reason. Washington didn’t even rank among the top 10 then.
What was so repellent about the candidates to Washington voters in 2016?
“It was a very negative campaign,” said Emilio Garza, executive director of Washington Bus, a Seattle-based nonprofit that focuses heavily on get-out-the-vote efforts.
“It became about the candidates themselves, not the issues,” he said. “What we were hearing on the ground was that folks didn’t feel like they were connecting with the candidates on the issues — not at all. They were just really fed…