Thursday, May 24, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - POLLING DAY

Just approaching 4.30pm. The early indications are that turnout will be higher than the 62% in 2002.

In fact for the previous two decades, turnout had been on a slow slide - from between 72-73% in the early 1980s, to 68% in 1989 and 1992, to 66% in 1997.

Some think that the lower turnout may be partly attributable to the mess that was the electoral register.

No matter. The turnout today will be higher than 2002, flawed electoral register or not.

What does that tell us? Not too much really other than people are very engaged with this election - more so than the walkover of 2002, when it was all over by election day. If you are inclined to think it's good for the opposition, just think of Sarkozy retaining the Elysee Palace this year (with a turnout of 80%) or John Major retaining in 1992 with a record turnout, or of Bill Clinton winning his second term on a higher turnout than the first.

The polls are saying it. We have been saying it. It's going to be really close. We'll get our first indication with the exit polls tomorrow morning.

3 comments:

Adam said...

An essay in RTÉ's election book suggested that turnout could have actually been in the region of 68% in 2002 if the errors weren't there - that would have been up on 1997 by 2% if I'm not mistaken.

That said, a few stories are doing the rounds to say that there are still problems in this area - maybe not as many as before, mind you.

Harry McGee said...

Yes, it would have been up on 1997 but the electoral register problems were probably apparent in 1997 too.
Could we have a turnout in the 70s.

John Carroll said...

From all the initial reporting the increase in turnout is all based on percentages, and as such given the culling of the register that has taken place, it is conceivable that turnout in absolute numbers may not be up as much as is being touted.

Worth bearing in mind and considering when the commentary on this election is being written. What might be seen as a much greater public participation in the election, may be nothing more than a marginally more accurate electoral register.

My reckoning on the 02 election would have been that turnout would be closer to 65% of people eligible to vote (i.e. citizens & brits over 18) - http://semperidem.blogs.ie/2006/09/30/voter-turnout-are-we-being-unduly-pessimistic-part-ii/

We'll know tomorrow, but people should remember to use the absolute numbers to compare the electoral turnout not percentages.