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February 08, 2008

Facts For Features: The 2008 Presidential Election

Theblackdog's note: This was originally released on October 1, 2007.

The 2008 Presidential Election

Every four years, voters head to the polls to elect our nation’s president. The process begins with a series of primaries and caucuses in the winter and spring, and ends with the November general election. To mark the start of the 2008 presidential election season, the Census Bureau has culled the following facts from previously released statistical reports.

State Turnout Trends

71% and 72%
Percentage of citizens in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively, who voted in the 2004 presidential election. Iowa is the home of the first-in-the-nation political party caucus and New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation party primary. (These percentages are not significantly different from one another.)

Estimated population in 2006 of Dixville, N.H., home of Dixville Notch, traditionally the first community to vote in the presidential primary season and first municipality in the nation to cast its votes on Election Day in November. (Hart’s Location, N.H., with a population of 41, also casts its votes in the early minutes of Election Day.)

The 2004 voting rate in Minnesota. Other states that voted at 70 percent or more included Wisconsin, Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Iowa and Montana.

National Turnout Trends

Percentage of voting-age citizens who were registered to vote in 2004, compared with the 70 percent of citizens registered in 2000.

126 million
The number of people who voted in the November 2004 election — a record high for a presidential year.

Percentage of registered voters who reported casting ballots in 2004, up from 86 percent in 2000.

Percentage of women who voted in the 2004 presidential election, compared with 62 percent of men.

Percentage of citizens 55 and older who voted in the 2004 presidential election. This compares with 47 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds. Nonetheless, the voting rate for the latter group was up 11 percentage points from 2000.

Percentage of voters who reported voting before Election Day 2004 — either in person or by mail.

Percentage of voters who said they registered at a county or government registration office. This was the most common registration method.

The percentage of registered voters who said the reason they did not vote in 2004 was that they were too busy or had conflicting work or school schedules. This was the most common reason given for not voting.

Percentage of military veterans who cast ballots in 2004, compared with 63 percent of the rest of the population.

The turnout rate in 2004 for citizens with a bachelor’s degree or higher, greater than the rate for citizens whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma (56 percent).

In 2004, turnout rates for citizens were 67 percent for non-Hispanic whites, 60 percent for blacks, 44 percent for Asians and 47 percent for Hispanics (of any race). These rates were higher than the previous presidential election by 5 percentage points for non-Hispanic whites and 3 points for blacks. The voting rates for Asian and Hispanic citizens did not change significantly between elections. These data pertain to those who identified themselves as being of a single race.

Except where otherwise noted, the source for the data is the Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004 report and detailed tables at

Special Editions of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features are issued to provide background information for lesser-known observances, anniversaries of historic events and other timely topics in the news.

Editor’s note: Some of the preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may have been subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office at 301-763-3030; fax
301-763-3762; or e-mail

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