Less People Voted than in 2004 or 2008
Preliminary figures suggest fewer people voted this year than four years ago, when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Obama to his first term.
In most states, the numbers were even lower than in 2004, said Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Every state but Iowa is showing a smaller turnout than in 2008, Gans said. Still, the full picture may not be known for weeks because much of the counting takes place after Election Day.
“This was a major plunge in turnout nationally,” said Gans, who estimated about 126 million Americans voted, for an overall turnout rate of about 57.5 percent.
“Beyond the people with passion, we have a disengaged electorate,” Gans said.
USA Today noted in August:
They cite a range of reasons for declaring they won’t vote or saying the odds are no better than 50-50 that they will: They’re too busy. They aren’t excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn’t really matter. And nothing ever gets done, anyway.
This year, perhaps 90 million Americans who could vote won’t. “The long-term trend tends to be awful,” Gans says. “There’s a lot of lack of trust in our leaders, a lack of positive feelings about political institutions, a lack of quality education for large segments of the public, a lack of civic education, the fragmenting effects of waves of communications technology, the cynicism of the coverage of politics – I could go on with a long litany.”
Many of these unlikely voters are suspicious of and disconnected from politics. In the survey, six in 10 say they don’t pay attention to politics because “nothing ever gets done”; 54% call politics “corrupt.”
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which took the survey [said] “You’ve got this overriding sense of bitterness and people who have been beaten down by the economy and the negativity and the lack of trust….
What could convince them to vote?
About one in 10 say they could be drawn by different candidates, by being convinced someone could fix the nation’s problems, and by feeling better informed.
Given that both the mainstream GOP and Democratic parties ignore the voters’ wishes on the core issues — and even ignore their own “base” — this is not entirely surprising. You don’t need a PhD in political science or economics to know that both parties are ignoring your wishes regarding war, jobs, freedoms and giving the little guy a fair shake.
George Washington blogs at Washington’s Blog.