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Q&A: a look at voter turnout trends

Tracking voter turnout

I keep hearing people say the presidential election is going to be decided by turnout. But did turnout go up in 2008, with Barack Obama running against John McCain? Everyone kept saying it would be up because people wanted to vote for, or against, Obama.

By all measures, voting turnout was up for the 2008 general election. It's impossible to gauge how much of it was due to the historic candidacy of the Democrat, Barack Obama.

We should note here that the following numbers are based on the voting-eligible population, which is defined by starting with the voting-age population, subtracting noncitizens and the disenfranchised, and then adding citizens from overseas.

The VEP turnout in the 2008 general election was 61.6 percent, which was up from the 2004 (Republican George W. Bush vs. Democrat John Kerry) turnout of 60.1 percent, which was up sharply from the 2000 (Republican George W. Bush vs. Democrat Al Gore) turnout of 54.2 percent.

Thirty-five states showed higher voter turnout from 2004 to 2008. Florida's turnout was 66.1 percent, up from 64.4 percent in 2004. The nation's highest rate in 2008 was Minnesota's 77.8 percent; the lowest was Hawaii's 48.8 percent.

The last time turnout was higher than in 2008 was in 1968, when Republican Richard Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey.

Historically, though, the 2008 turnout doesn't measure up all that well. In the general elections between 1840 and 1900, VEP turnout was near or above 70 percent and often more than 80 percent.

Historical lows were recorded in the 1920 and 1924 general elections, when turnout was under 50 percent.

Prevacid 24HR will be back

Why have they taken Prevacid 24HR off the shelves? Nobody has any information, and I can't get an answer as to why.

Maintenance is being done and improvements are being made at the plant in Humacao, Puerto Rico, where the heartburn medicine Prevacid 24HR is made, a spokeswoman with pharmaceutical company Novartis recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The company said it expects the product to be back on the shelves by now.

The cost of foreign aid

If the United States were to suspend all foreign aid for one year, how much money would the U.S. save and would it be enough to bring down our debt?

The U.S. budgeted $34.72 billion for foreign aid in 2011, or 0.95 percent of the federal budget, according to the New York Times. The U.S. government had a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion at the end of Sept. 30, 2011, the end of the fiscal year, Reuters reported.

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Q&A: a look at voter turnout trends 05/27/12 [Last modified: Sunday, May 27, 2012 4:30am]
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