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Voter turnout in presidential elections, 1948-2008



  1. Amileoj says:

    Does this mean you think Michael McDonald’s estimates for 2008 are accurate (and Phil Klinker’s specticism about those estimates unwarranted)?

    At this hour, CNN is showing about 64.2 mil votes for Obama and about 56.6 mil for McCain. That comes to something less than 53% of a voting age population of 231 mil. To get to the 2004 turnout number (55.3% of voting age pop.) we need to assume the presence of an additional 7-8 mil votes from the not-yet-counted, 3rd party/other, and no presidential vote categories. That seems plausible.

    But are there enough of those additional votes (another 10 mil or so on top of the 7-8 mil already assumed) to get us to 60%? That seems highly doubtful.

    Granted I’m comparing percent of voting age, not McDonald’s percent of "voting eligible". But is it likey there has been a dramatic increase in former relative to the latter in the last four years? If not, then the estimated sharp incrase in turnout for 2008 relative to 2004 again looks mighty shakey.

  2. Andrew says:

    Amileoj: I have no expertise on these turnout numbers. My only contribution here is to make the graph.

    Mike: I don’t know the details of the calculations, but there are a lot of noncitizens who live in the U.S.