Record turnout? Only for Democrats

A new report finds that voter turnout in 2008 was almost identical to that in 2004. But don't blame Democrats. It was Republicans who stayed away.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Published November 8, 2008 2:27AM (UTC)
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Leading up to the presidential election, there was a lot of discussion about possible record turnout at the polls.

But according to Curtis Gans, an election expert at American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate, that didn't happen. Gans released a report Friday that estimates that between 126.5 million and 128.5 million ballots were cast this year. That would mean that roughly 60.7 percent of the electorate voted -- nearly the same number who voted in 2004.

But that's not the whole story. Gans also found that the number of Republican voters dropped by 1.3 percent, while the number of Democratic voters rose by 2.6 percent, marking the seventh straight increase for the Democratic share of the presidential vote since 1980. So in fact, there was record turnout this year; it just didn't spread across the electorate.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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