(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.
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.