The US Census released their turnout data for the 2008 Presidential election. The press release reports:
About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase included about 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained statistically unchanged.Younger voters were the only age group to show a significant increase over 2004, but the press release goes on to say that younger voters still had the lowest voting rate, at forty-nine percent. The age groups over the age of forty-five years voted at a rate of sixty-nine percent and higher.
I think this fits with the narrative of the 2008 election, with much of the media attention on Obama's campaign mobilizing new voters and African American voters. While Hispanics increased their raw numbers, their population also grew, so there was no significant increase in the rate of Hispanic voter turnout. I mentioned back in November that I had my doubts that Hispanics would turnout in high numbers for Obama.
Its nice to see an increase in young voters, but still this confirms the old political science truism that young people don't vote at the same rate as the older folks. Its no wonder they bear the heaviest burden of our budget woes, with cuts in education and the extraordinarily high budget deficits (currently estimated to be about 1.8 trillion dollars) that these young folks will ultimately have to foot the tab for. Not to mention that a universal health care system would shift a great amount of the burden from older folks (who use a lot of health care) to the younger non-voting taxpayers who don't use much health care.