Friday, November 14, 2008

more on voter turnout

despite what some obama haters might tell you, voter turnout increased by several million this year. current estimates are that about 129 million ballots were cast, compared to 122.3 million in 2004. that's an increase of 6.7%, which raises the turnout rate to 62% (slightly under the record from 1964 of 64%).

Each analyst cited North Carolina as the state with the largest increase over 2004 in turnout, by about 9 percentage points. A traditionally Republican state won by Obama after his campaign waged vigorous registration and get-out-the-vote operations, the state was one of many with large African-American populations that saw rising turnout this year. Other states included Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, all of which were won by McCain; and Virginia, Florida, and the District of Columbia, all carried by Obama.

In Indiana and Nevada, both reliably GOP states for decades, Obama won with major efforts over the airwaves and on the ground, and turnout increased by several percentage points in both states over 2004 figures, according to both analyses.

Turnout was also up nearly three percentage points from four years ago in Missouri, a Republican-friendly battleground state where Obama made inroads. As of yesterday, McCain's lead was 4,990 votes out of 2.9 million cast in the state, according to an unofficial tally on the secretary of state's website. If Obama overtakes McCain in the final official count in Missouri, it would raise to 10 the number of states carried by Obama that went for President Bush in 2004.

While turnout jumped in several normally Republican states won by Obama, it dipped slightly in Colorado, both studies found.

States that experienced a large drop-off in turnout included McCain's home state of Arizona, which he won; heavily Republican Utah; and Ohio, another GOP-leaning state that fell into the Obama column.

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