Nearly 3 million more Republicans turned out to vote on Super Tuesday than Democrats in nine states, according to an analysis from NBC News.
The NBC tally found that in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia — states that held their Democratic and Republican contests on Tuesday — 8.3 million Republicans voted, compared to only 5.6 million Democrats.
Texas Republicans nearly doubled their previous record, while primaries or caucuses in Tennessee, Virginia, Alaska, Arkansas and Minnesota each pulled in 50 percent more voters than ever before.
The NBC analysis found the 2016 contest is lining up to be the mirror image of the 2008 contest, when Democrats turned out in droves to vote between Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEx-Clinton aide calls Trump spokesman a 'failure' Madonna to critics of women's march: 'F--k you' Women's march takes over DC MORE and then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump inaugural TV ratings lower than Obama, Reagan: report Women's marches draw estimated 2.5M people across US Women's marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office MORE.
This time around, Republicans have hit the polls, excited by one of the largest fields they’ve ever had, as well as the presence of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpInterior Dept. reactivates Twitter accounts after shutdown Booker: 'I am not open to being president' Women's marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office MORE, who has boasted about bringing new voters into the process, including Democrats and Independents.
Republicans say it’s evidence of an enthusiasm gap that will carry over into the general election. Democrats say the growing likelihood of Trump being on the ticket will ensure their voters turn out to stop him in November.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest brushed aside the notion that high turnout on the Republican side is a sign of enthusiasm for Trump.
He pointed to Virginia, a presidential battleground state, where Clinton received more raw votes than Trump, and Minnesota, where Clinton and Sanders each received more votes than any individual GOP candidate.
“I think that this is an indication that there is ample enthusiasm on the Democratic side, particularly in the places where it matters most in the general election," Earnest said.
"I think what is also true is that, again, based on the public reporting from all of you, that at least some of the strong turnout in the Republican Party was actually due to hostility to the current Republican front-runner,” he continued. “And that would also be a troubling dynamic for Republicans in a general election.”
— Jordan Fabian contributed.
Updated at 2:23 p.m.