November 7th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Record turnout?

Turnout was nearly the same as in 2004.
Turnout was nearly the same as in 2004.

(CNN) - Was there a record turnout in the election?

Of Democrats, yes. Of all voters, not so much.

We expected to see amazingly high voter turnout in this election.

Was there?

Just over 208 million voting-age American citizens were eligible to vote this year. Just over 187 million were registered to vote. Edison Media Research estimates that a total of just over 130 million actually voted for President, either in person or by mail. That's over 62 percent of all Americans eligible to vote. That's two points higher than four years ago. 2008 continues a steady trend of higher voter turnout since 1996. But it's not exactly a quantum leap.

The Center for the Study of the American Elecotrate Explains it this way."A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower-than-predicted turnout. . . . The long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats."

According to the exit polls, the African-American share of the vote did go up slightly, from 11 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2008. The white share declined a few points and Latinos stayed the same.

The share of young voters went up by one percentage point. The share of new voters stayed the same.

But there was a noticeable shift by party. Democrats went from 37 percent of voters in 2004 to 40 percent this year. Independents also went up. Republicans declined from 37 to 32. All consistent with pre-election polls that showed Democrats excited and Republicans demoralized.

Something else failed to happen - the so-called "Bradley effect," where voters tell pollsters they intend to vote for an African-American candidate and then don't.

There is no evidence that people were lying to pollsters.

The CNN poll taken by the Opinion Research Corporation just before the election showed Barack Obama getting 53 percent of the vote and John McCain 46 percent. That is exactly what they got.

CNN and Time's pre-election poll, also conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, showed Obama winning Florida, the biggest battleground state, by four points. Obama won Florida by three.

The pre-election poll predicted Obama would carry Ohio by four. He did.

The story of this election was not so much a huge surge of new voters as it was a huge surge of Democratic enthusiasm. And Republican defeatism.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Marge

    The voter turn out was just a tat more than 2004. So what's all the big deal about voter turnout.....the difference, the democrats were the overwhelming voters, and last time it was the republicans. Next time they might all vote Independent...

    November 7, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. Juan Grain

    Get used to it GOP, we ain't turning back for a long, long time!

    November 7, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. Oklahoma Woman for Obama 08

    I love this!!! Of course it was the same as 2004!!! A lot of Americans wanted a change from the stuffy suits wanting STATUS instead of serving the PEOPLE!! At least this election didn't require a biased recount!! LOL!!!

    November 8, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  4. penny

    I would like to know whyall of the white people that did not vote for obama are acting like it is the end of the world? At my job no one will talk to us or even look us in the face. I am from the all red state. Everyone I have talk to has said they are getting treated the same way at their workplace. Why are they mad at us we are not the majority.

    November 8, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. penny

    I would like to know whyall of the white people that did not vote for obama are acting like it is the end of the world? At my job no one will talk to us or even look us in the face. I am from the all red state by the way. Everyone I have talked to has said they are getting treated the same way at their workplace. Why are they mad at us we are not the majority.

    November 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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