I was doing a little reasearch and came across a comment that at fist I wanted to dissmiss and then I realized that the comment seems to make a lot of sense. Basically I am going to link to the article and then the comment. I am hoping that this may be a post where we can continue the discussion from last thursday.
The title is a link to the article. The text follows the title. All imbedded links and info was left intact.
High voter turnout was predicted on Tuesday. And the number of votes counted has already shattered all records. But so, too, does the population of the U.S., regularly. The turnout rate appears to be shy of a new record.
Focusing on the number of Americans who voted for president is a surefire way to generate headlines touting records, such as those that ran in the Financial Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politico. Just two of the last 15 presidential elections — in 1988 and 1996 — didn’t set a new record by that count, according to data compiled by Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. Focusing on the total number of voters amid steady population growth is akin to celebrating new box-office records, except that turnout records are easier to come by because there aren’t other elections competing for voters’ attention.
So just how many people did vote this time? We don’t have final numbers yet, as usual. Shortly after the 2004 election, the Wall Street Journal pegged turnout at “perhaps as many as 120 million voters.” The final number, 122 million, was reported in mid-January.
The count posted on WSJ.com is up to 123.7 million Friday morning, but McDonald and fellow turnout tracker Curtis Gans expect millions more votes. The two experts diverge, however, on both the expected number of votes and the number of Americans eligible to vote, as I noted in a February column. McDonald expects the final count will top 133 million, of 213 million eligible voters, for a turnout rate of 62.6%. Gans says 208 million Americans could have voted, and between 126.5 million and 128.5 million did, which would put the turnout rate at between 60.7% and 61.7%. Their divergent numbers also play a role in calculating state turnout numbers, complicating efforts in perennially high-turnout Minnesota to determine if the state cleared 80% turnout for the first time.
Either estimate for national turnout falls short of McDonald’s estimates for turnout rates in 1960 (63.8%) and 1964 (62.8%). However, in both those elections voters aged 18, 19 and 20 weren’t allowed to vote. By McDonald’s estimates, those low-turnout voters dragged down turnout rates by between 1 and 1.5 percentage points in every presidential election between 1972 and 2000. In 2004 and this year, the turnout rate among young voters rose but continued to lag behind that of older voters. So the turnout rate among voters 21 and older could approach or break modern historical records.
Now here is a series of comments which bleed from the first one. I found the discussion interesting and I am curious as to what the class thinks.
Comment by – November 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm