Voter turnout?

Perhaps this is a GQ but it is political so I am putting it here…

How does turnout this time actually compare with past elections and why am I reading such different sets of numbers?

First we have this report as reported on CNN of an American University report:

Now that 126.5 to 128.5 million is lower than what I’ve read elsewhere, which generally guess that it will be about 130 million plus when all counting is done. Yet, this table goes the other direction and estimates 2004 voter turnout will be 148 million when the counting is all done - a turnout percent of 64.1% of eligible voters, and states that 2004 was lower percent than the first report’s figures - they both agree it was 122 million voters but the first report claims that was a mere 55% of eligible voters.

Mind you both end up with numbers that show more people voting than ever before in absolute numbers and even with the first reports “disappointing” spin and more modest numbers, the percent turnout is higher than anytime since 1968 or maybe even 1964. I also do believe that more people voted for Obama than have ever voted for a President before in American history. But how to put these different sources together? Who is right?

And it is clear that the Hispanic turnout increased and was important. But did it increase as much as would have been expected given the numbers that came out in the primaries? Has this demographic fully flexed their muscles yet?

I had been hopeful that Hispanics would give Obama a surprise upset in Texas, and if they had come out in their full numbers they could have. (They were 20% of voters but represent 26% of all eligible voters in Texas.) But they did not come out in the force needed, albeit the cities of Texas are turning reliably blue (Harris, Dallas, and the county containing Austin all Blue). Will it be possible to both keep this demographic as Blue and to get them to come out in greater force in the future?

This is interesting, Obama ran a near flawless campaign, really concentrating on electoral and congressional districts. This was his first go around on the national stage and he won. Next time, in four years, he’ll undoubtedly hone that map and grab more people from more districts. Double your preconceived notions of voter turn out in 2012 if he turns out to be a great president. My assumption is he will turn out to be a very good president, he has been good at just about everything else he has tried in his life so I don’t see the presidency going much differently.

Also, for the 2012 election, if he has a good presidency, no one will have anything to run against him with. All the Rev. Wright BS and other smears didn’t work and won’t be mentioned in 2012, so I see him as a veritable steamroller for that election.