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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voters Have High Personal Investment in Election Outcome (1) by Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent Gallup Poll finds 74% of Americans saying the outcome of this year's presidential election matters more to them than in previous years -- slightly more than said this about the 2004 election, and well above the figures from the 1996 and 2000 elections.

The results suggest that Americans have come to view the outcome of elections as increasingly important. While at least 7 in 10 said the election mattered more to them in both 2004 and 2008, fewer than half said this about the 1996 or 2000 elections.

The increased importance attributed to the election outcomes helps explain the surge in voter turnout in 2004, which experts predict could be eclipsed in this year's election. Gallup has found an extraordinarily high level of interest in the election throughout this year, and its data also suggest turnout will exceed what it was in 2004.

Democrats (80%) are slightly more likely than Republicans (74%) to attribute greater importance to the 2008 election outcome. That is a similar pattern to what Gallup showed for the 2004 election. In 2000, Republicans were slightly more likely to view the outcome as more important than prior elections, and in 1996, Republicans and Democrats were about equal in their perceptions.

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