Massive Voter Turnout Not So Massive After All

Election sees only a modest increase in participation among eligible voters
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Nov 9, 2008 9:59 AM CST
Voters turn out in University Park Elementary School in University Park, Md., for election day.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Contrary to hype about massive turnout on Election Day, roughly the same percentage of eligible voters hit the polls in 2008 as in 2004, reports Politico. While a record number of ballots were cast—up to 128.5 million votes— the increase in the percentage of eligible voters in the US was minimal: up to 61.7% of voters went to the polls this year, compared with 60.6% in 2004.

The less-than-massive increase might be because fewer Republicans voted, said one political scientist. Democratic votes made up 31.3% of the total, up from 28.7%, and Republican votes dropped by about 1.3 points to 28.7% of the total. "The Democratic increase struck some analysts as modest, considering the party’s immense get-out-the-vote operation, strong anti-Bush sentiment, and Obama's popularity," writes Politico.