How Many People Voted In The Missouri Primary? The Show-Me State Showed Up

One of the five states to head to the polls on Tuesday, Missouri looked like it would be a close race in both parties — and it has been. The outcome will be decided by just a couple thousand votes, and the Associated Press has not called the race as of early Wednesday morning. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in the lead, but both by less than 1 percentage point — a difference of under 2,000 votes. Close races like these serve as a reminder that turnout matters; so how many people did vote in the Missouri primary?

Two precincts are still outstanding, but with 99 percent of the vote counted, just over 1,560,000 people voted in the state's Democratic and Republican primaries according to preliminary numbers from the Associated Press. That's a 10 percent increase over 2008. As with almost every other state this election season, the bump comes from the GOP. The Republican turnout was up by nearly 60 percent from 2008. The nearly 936,000 GOP voters who showed up at the polls constituted a nearly four-fold increase from 2012. Enthusiasm is high. Not quite so much with the Dems — despite the nail-biting race, Democratic turnout in Missouri was down by 200,000 votes.

The overall record setting number meets or exceeds projections from state election officials. They projected that turnout would be about 34 percent of registered voters, which is in tune with the numbers we've been seeing from other states with primaries this year; fewer people attend caucuses. Nationwide in 2008 we saw primary turnout at about 30 percent of eligible voters — a number that could be obliterated by 2016's turnout if the races stay competitive — especially for the Republicans. On Tuesday only Ohio and Illinois had a larger turnout percentage-wise.

The high turnout led to some Republican ballot shortages. Some 800 additional Republican ballots had to be shipped in to a rural Osage County in central Missouri Tuesday from the state capital — and the county clerk was worried those might not be enough. In the end there were no reports of ballots needing to be photocopied, as we've seen in other states, though plenty of people had to endure long waits in line to vote.

Missouri was the least populous state to vote on Tuesday. Republicans are rewarding 52 delegates and Democrats 71. There were very few polls predicting the outcome in the state. Clinton and Sanders appeared nearly tied in the most recent. Trump, on the other hand, was ahead of Cruz by about 7 percentage points — although that's exactly the poll's margin of error. FiveThirtyEight had no decisive predictions this time around either. They gave Clinton odds of 54 percent. They didn't even have a forecast for the Republican race due to the lack of polling.

Given extremely close results in both parties, it just shows how important every single vote is. While Republicans seem to be energized (for or against) the Trump campaign, the 200,000 missing Democrats (from 2008) could have easily tilted the race in either Clinton or Sanders' direction.