2008 Voter Turnout: Lots and Lots More Democrats

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Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate has issued his final report on turnout in the 2008 election. Among his findings:

In all, 131,257,542 Americans voted for president in 2008, nine million more than cast their ballots in 2004* (against only a 6.5 million increase in eligible population).

The turnout level was 63 percent of eligibles, a 2.4 percentage point increase over 2004 and the highest percentage to turn out since 64.8 percent voted for president in 1960. It was the third highest turnout since women were given the right to vote in 1920.

Overall turnout increased in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The greatest turnout increases occurred in the District of Columbia (13 percentage points), followed by North Carolina (10.3), Georgia (7.6), South Carolina (7.4), Virginia (7.1), Colorado (6.3), Mississippi (5.9), Alabama (5.5) and Indiana (5.2).

Overall turnout records were set in Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Democratic turnout, as measured by their share of the aggregate vote for U.S. House of Representatives (see note 4), increased by 5.4 percentage points to 31.6 percent of the eligible vote, their highest share of the vote since 33.4 percent voted Democratic in 1964 and the largest year-to-year increase in Democratic turnout since women were enfranchised in1920. Democratic turnout increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and declined in only four.

*The initial release said 2002. Curtis Gans has since corrected, adding, People at the age of 71 shouldn’t pull all-nighters.

UPDATE: Commenter P-NNTO notes correctly that this is a significant adjustment to Gans’ earlier projection, which I posted a couple of days after the election.

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