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- November 5, 2008

Phil asks where the turnout surge is. The answer is that it’s hanging out at “Michael McDonald’s website”:http://elections.gmu.edu/Blog.html:

My preliminary national turnout rate for those eligible to vote is 62.6% or 133.3 million ballots cast. This number may yet rise further as absentee ballots arrive and provisional ballots are processed, particularly in some western states. Until these outstanding ballots are counted, I would like to provide a conservative estimate. This turnout rate would be the largest since the 62.8% of 1964. If we top that number, which we might, the next highest turnout rate would be 63.8% in 1960.

For historic context, see McDonald and Popkin’s “2001 APSR piece”:http://elections.gmu.edu/APSR%20McDonald%20and_Popkin_2001.pdf on voter turnout. As an illustration, I have taken McDonald’s provisional estimate for 2008 turnout, and combined it with his (non-provisional) data on national turnout for Presidential elections in previous election years to make the graph below, which shows turnout trends since 1980.


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