Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Highest turnout since 1968? Maybe.

Today's NY Times says that with all districts reporting "61.6 percent of Americans eligible to vote went to the polls this year, the highest since Richard M. Nixon beat Hubert H. Humphrey in the close 1968 race". This year's turnout was a bit better than in 2004, when turnout was 60.1%. Okay, but ...

In 2004 the total ballot was around 122.3m and this year it was 125.2m. What I find interesting is that with those vote totals that means the base population was the same in both instances - 203m. That means that turnout is (probably) based on the census of 2000. That makes no sense to me seeing as the population changes over the years after the census. That means you can only really compare turnout between elections in years ending with the same digit. {E.g. 2008 with 1988 and 1968, 2004 with 1984, 1964, etc.}

I stand by my belief that turnout was not really greater this year than in 2004.