Turnout Translation

Chatterbox is gratified to learn how many election turnout mavens there are out there. But he belatedly realizes that his recent item (“No Exit from Exit Polls”) seems to have confused a few readers by stating that the 36.1-percent turnout figure for 1998 represents the lowest rate of voter participation since 1942. That statistic–courtesy of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate–represents the percentage of the voting-age population who went to the polls. Even though the motor-voter law and normal population growth added 4 million new registered voters since 1994, 2.5 million fewer Americans voted in 1998 compared to the Gingrich Revolution election of 1994.

Walter Shapiro