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Q&A: Tallying voter turnout

Tallying voter turnout

With this being a presidential election year, can you tell me how many people have voted in past presidential elections?

Record-keeping is surprisingly spotty, but we did find a good report on voting from the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It covers participation by the voting-age population in presidential elections from 1824 through 2004.

The highest total raw vote was in 2004 (George Bush vs. John Kerry), when 122,295,345 people voted. That was a 55.27 percent turnout of the total voting age population (221,256,931), and that percentage was the highest since the 1968 race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey drew 60.84 percent of the voting age population to the polls.

After 1968, the percentage of people voting hovered in the low 50s, and in 1996 was only 49.08 percent for the Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole race.

Turnout was generally above 70 percent in the mid to late 1800s, touching a peak of 81.8 percent for the 1876 race between Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden.

After 1900 turnout began to fall, and between 1908 and 2004 the highest turnout was 63.3 percent in 1952 for Dwight Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson, followed by 62.77 percent for the 1960 race between John Kennedy and Nixon.

Candidates have detailed plans

Both candidates for president harp on all these plans they have for health care, the economy, war in Iraq, etc., but do they really have a plan? I've never seen either of them show a single sheet of paper with a plan on it.

Both candidates have extensive information online about their proposals on the issues.

Republican John McCain: www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/

Democrat Barack Obama: www.barackobama.com/issues/

Congress and religion

I heard that Congress went home for the Jewish holiday. What percentage of Congress is Jewish?

The Senate is 13 percent Jewish, with 13 Jewish senators, second in number to Roman Catholics, with 25 senators. The House of Representatives is 7 percent Jewish, with 29 representatives. They trail those members who identify themselves as Catholic (133), Baptist (52), Methodist (43), Presbyterian (31), and Christian and Episcopal (both 30). Lewis Charles Levin was the first Jew elected to the House of Representatives. He was the American Party candidate from Pennsylvania in 1844.

The 411 on URLs

What does URL stand for?

URL stands for "universal resource locator." A URL is a page address on the World Wide Web, which is why most URLs have www. in them.

Q&A: Tallying voter turnout 11/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 6:08pm]
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