ThePollsters Turnout Was High Again. Is This The New Normal?

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Monica Potts

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2022 Election

Turnout Was High Again. Is This The New Normal?​


By Monica Potts

Nov. 15, 2022, at 11:46 AM


Three people stand at voting machines to cast their ballot.

The U.S. Elections Project estimates a turnout rate of 47 percent for this year’s midterm elections.
DAVID BECKER / THE WASHINGTON POST / GETTY IMAGES


Is the United States in an era of high turnout?

Turnout surged during the last midterm elections in 2018 when 49 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot for the highest office in their state, according to data analyzed by the U.S. Elections Project, an election data website maintained by Michael P. McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida. The Census Bureau, using a slightly different measure, reported that it was the highest recorded turnout for a midterm election since the bureau began keeping records in 1978.

Early signs point to a similar level of turnout in last week’s midterms. Using preliminary estimates from state elections officials around the country,1 the U.S. Elections Project estimates a turnout rate of 47 percent for this year’s elections. In 14 states, turnout even went slightly up compared to 2018. (The estimates could change in states where the ballot counting is not yet complete.)

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