The 2014 congressional election turnout rate of 41.9 percent was the lowest since the U.S. Census Bureau first began asking Americans about voting and citizenship status in 1978. The 2014 voting rate was 7.0 percentage points lower than in 1978 and down from the 45.5 percent that reported voting in the 2010 congressional election.
These statistics come from Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978-2014, which uses data collected by the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. This report provides a detailed historical portrait of voters in congressional elections, and it examines voting patterns by age, race and Hispanic origin and includes a look at early and absentee voting.
In the most recent congressional election of 2014, nearly a third (31.2 percent) of all voters reported either voting early, voting by mail or using some other form of voting. This was about a threefold increase from 1996, when only 10.5 percent of voters reported voting by alternative methods.
In addition to the report, the release also includes a detailed table package.The cliche is that midterm electorates are much whiter than presidential electorates.The white share of the 2014 electorate was 76.3 percent, was indeed slightly higher than 2012 (73.7 percent) but it was exactly the same as in 2008. Instead, the big difference is in age distribution. Whereas 19.5 percent of 2008 voters were 65 and over, the figure for 2014 was 28.4 percent.