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Graph: Presidential Voting vs Voting Age Population, over time

November 13, 2016

There are lots of comparisons to prior years floating around. Here is a graph that should be useful for such comparisons, incorporating turnout and normalizing vs voting age population. (VAP grows fast enough to confuse year-to-year changes in absolute votes). All data from Wikipedia, except 2016 figures, which are not final (as of 2016.11.12). Use freely. Attribution is appreciated but not required.



(click to enlarge)


  • One thing that stands out is that Obama was an extraordinarily good candidate. Perhaps relevant to the 2016-vs-2012/2008 comparisons that are being made now.
  • The current Clinton’s showing is actually not that bad by historical standards for Democrats.
  • 2016 numbers look very much like 2000.
  • This year’s turnout vs VAP is sub 50%. This year may touch the hundred-year low, but we’ve come close several times. (see second wikipedia link below).
  • Gore in 2000 got a larger proportion of voting-age voters by this measure than did Clinton in either ’92 or ’96. Clinton won due to presence of third parties! (Perot, etc). Relevant given how vociferously Democrats denounced spoilers since.
  • Johnson 2016 did better than Nader 2000, but nowhere near Perot 1992
  • I actually think the spoiler effect is a strong point for third parties. Kingmakers have negotiating leverage. Use of this leverage should be to press for RCV.

Wiki sources:

See Also: [via NC]

Support 3rd parties! Support Proportional Representation and Ranked Choice Voting!

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