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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 6, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Voter turnout predictions: Can state and King County both be right?

The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has estimated that 81 percent of registered voters will cast a ballot in Washington this week. King County estimates turnout will be about 87 percent.

But if past presidential elections are any indication, it seems unlikely that both will prove true.

In every presidential race since 1996, there has never been more than a 2.4 percent difference between statewide and King County turnout, according to a review of turnout data by The Seattle Times.

In fact, in most years, turnout statewide and in the state’s largest county were within a single percentage of one another. Only in 1996 was the difference more than 1 percent. But even in that year it was nowhere near the 6 percent difference predicted for today’s election.

Here are the the final turnout percentages statewide and in King County for the past four presidential elections.

Wash.               King

2008    84.6%    83.9%
2004    82.2%    83.1%
2000    75.5%    74.5%
1996    74.5%    76.9%

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