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Voter turnout not a record, analysts say

BOSTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Turnout in last week's presidential elections was higher than four years ago, but didn't set any records, an analysis of U.S. voting patterns indicated.

In states won by President-elect Barack Obama, turnout was more than 5 percentage points higher than in states won by Republican opponent Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Boston Globe analysis indicated.

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Curtis Gans, director of American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate, and Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor, reviewed unofficial returns state by state. Based on voter registration increases and long lines in early-voting polling places, both said they predicted a higher turnout than what happened on Nov. 4.

"It turned out the intensity was one-sided; it was on the Democrats' side," Gans said.

McDonald concurred, saying, "It became more evident to voters at the end that Barack Obama was going to win. That probably tamped down the turnout and disproportionately affected the Republicans."

As of Thursday, more than 127.1 million votes were recorded in unofficial state tallies, many not including uncounted mail-in or provisional ballots, the Globe reported. When the official counts are in, Gans said, the tally may approach 129 million, or about 62 percent of eligible voters, up from the 60.6 percent four years ago, but below 1964's 64 percent.

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Obama led McCain by a popular-vote margin of about 6.7 percent as of Thursday, 67 million votes to 58.5 million, the researchers said.

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