It’s Election Day! Will Voter Turnout Look Different in 2016?

Today’s the day we elect the next President of the United States. Over the past year campaigns have filled our airwaves, Facebook feeds, and have even infiltrated our favorite podcasts. We’ve watched the polls, heard the debates, fact checked the fact checkers, and tried to avoid political conversations at the dinner table. Candidates at both the state and federal levels have spent more on political advertising than ever before. All this begs the question – will the increased partisanship, media, and money make a difference for voter turnout?

Let’s take a look at voter turnout rates for the past two elections:

Voter turnout

Voter Turnout 2012

In 2008 we saw high turnout in states like Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Maine. Turnout was low in Alabama, West Virginia, and Utah.

In 2012, we saw a positive shift in turnout in Colorado, Mississippi, Utah, and Massachusetts, but turnout declined in many states – Alaska, California, Michigan, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine and Massachusetts, to name a few.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 64% of voting-aged citizens voted in 2008, an estimate not statistically significant from the number of voters that turned out in 2004.  In 2012, 62% of voting-aged citizens turned out to cast a ballot.

Voter turnout for the 2016 primaries was much higher than in 2012, but will the same be true for the general election? Will national voter turnout in 2016 increase enough to be statistically significant? Share your predictions in the comments.

Our team’s predictions are still being tabulated. In the meantime, here’s a fun voter data tool from that looks at the effect of demographics on voter turnout and election results.

To the victor go the spoils…..happy voting!


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