Poll: California could experience 80 percent voter turnout

Chris Rizo Nov. 4, 2008, 9:45am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California could see a nearly 79 percent voter turnout today, with a record 13.6 million voters casting ballots, a poll released Tuesday indicates.

A new Field Poll found that the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain is spurring many eligible Californians to vote.

Additionally, a dozen ballot measures, including a ban on same-sex marriage and a proposal requiring parental notification before a minor can have an abortion are also drawing people to the polls, likely shattering the voter turnout record set in 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Gerald Ford for president.

As of Friday, nearly 3.8 million of the state's registered 17.3 million voters had cast ballots either by mail or at early voting locations. That alone would mark a 22 percent turnout.

In all, about a quarter of California voters are expected to be 34 years old or younger. Just 19 percent of those casting ballots will be 65 or older, the poll shows.

Latinos will make up about 19 percent of the vote, up from 14 percent in 2000 and 11 percent in 1996. Meanwhile, blacks will account for about 6 percent of the electorate and Asians and other ethnic groups about 8 percent.

"The Field Poll is expecting that one in three Californians voting this year will come from voters from the state's racial and ethnic populations, up from 29 percent in 2000 and 23 percent in 1996," an analysis said.

The poll found that 43 percent of voters will be Democrats, while Republicans will account for 34 percent of votes cast. Members of other parties will account for 23 percent of votes.

The Democratic Party has seen a surge in new voter registrations.

As of Friday, Democratic registration has grown by more than 563,000 voters since October 2004; Republican registration in the state dropped by 317,466 in that same period.

The poll of 966 Californians likely to vote was conducted Oct. 18-Oct.28.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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