On election day I heard a number of anecdotal reports that voter turnout was up. Today's Inquirer has hard numbers. (See "Voters turned out in force to turn Congress out," by Larry Eichel, full text here). He reports:
In Bucks County, overall turnout as a share of voter registration rose by a stunning 8.4 percentage points from 2002, reaching 56.3 percent of registration. Turnout rose 8 points in Chester County and 4.2 in Delaware County. All of those places were heavily engaged in the key congressional races.
In Montgomery County, much of which is not included in those three districts, turnout rose only 2.6 percentage points - below the overall state increase of 3.5. In Philadelphia, the increase was 1.8 percent.
Overall in Pennsylvania, 49.2 percent of registered voters participated.
While it seems strange to rejoice when slightly more than half of all registered voters in a county and just under half of registered voters in the state come out to the polls, it is a notable improvement. I'll be naive and hope it's a trend.