We know who all won on Nov. 4, but what do those victories look like in historic context? Unofficial numbers report 1,265,503 Mississippi ballots cast in this year's presidential contest gave the Magnolia State's six electoral votes to Senator John McCain, at a 56-percent margin of the vote over Sen. Barack Obama.

Turnout, based on voter eligible population (VEP), reached an all-time high. Between 1980 and 1992, VEP turnout in Mississippi fluctuated between 52 and 53 percent. It plummeted to 45.9 percent in 1996 and since has steadily increased: 49.1 percent in 2000; 55.7 percent in 2004; 58.8 percent in 2008. Mississippians cast about 113,000 more ballots this year than four years ago when President George W. Bush carried the state with 59 percent of the vote. In perspective, 158,000 more Mississippians voted in 2004 than 2000.

These numbers reflect a modest increase rather than inspired surge in voter turnout. A report released last week by American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests nationwide turnout to be near the same level as 2004, or at the most 1 percentage point higher. While Democratic turnout did increased by 2.6 percent, a decrease of 1.3 percent by Republicans neutralized hopes of record turnout. The report proposes this is a result of a disparity in the enthusiasm level for the party's respective candidates, "by at least 20 percentage points, Obama enjoyed stronger allegiance than McCain."

Republicans in Mississippi claim large turnouts benefit the GOP. It certainly did this year: McCain, Senator Thad Cochran, and Senator Roger Wicker all carried the state.

Cochran retains his record as the highest vote earner in Mississippi history. He first set that record in 1984 when he defeated William Winter at a greater than 60 percent margin with 580,314 votes. To be fair, that year President Ronald Reagan did post about two thousand more votes than Cochran in Mississippi. But this year, Cochran collected more than 722,000 votes: more than McCain, more than Bush ever, more than anyone, ever. To put it in perspective, Cochran received just twenty-two thousand fewer voters this year than Republican Haley Barbour and Democrat John Arthur Eaves Jr. combined received last year.

To illustrate the importance of turnout, Cochran took 62 percent of the vote to defeat his opponent Erik Fleming. Yet in losing, Fleming pulled more raw votes than Kirk Fordice, Ronnie Musgrove, or Haley Barbour in any of their successful elections for governor. Despite 2008's record turnout and perceived enthusiasm, the Democrat who holds the record for votes in Mississippi is not Obama or Musgrove, not John Kerry or Al Gore, but Attorney General Jim Hood who in 2003 pulled 548,046 votes.

Musgrove's political stunt over ballot placement earlier this year failed to pay-off. The Democrats sought to change the practice of listing special election races after all the general election races. The Mississippi Supreme Court sided with the Democrats.

Democrats hoped by putting Musgrove closer to Obama on the ballot, he would benefit from a voter surge and not suffer the a loss of votes from ballot fatigue.

Unfortunately for Democrats, that simultaneously placed Wicker closer to McCain. Not only did McCain receive more votes than Obama, but Wicker received more votes than Obama. In fact, Musgrove received more votes than Obama. Exit polls suggest Musgrove got 18 percent of the white vote when Obama only pulled 11 percent. Those same polls show while McCain only got 2 percent of the black vote, Wicker was able to pull 8 percent. If anything, Obama was a drag on Musgrove.

While there was a drop off of just over 43,000 votes from the presidential election to the special senate election, had Musgrove gotten every one of those votes, it would not have eased his deficit (he lost by more than 124,000 votes). The special senate election received more votes than the regular senate election, which appeared above it on the ballot. About 2000 people voted for president, skipped the Cochran-Fleming race, and voted in the Wicker-Musgrove contest.

It was not a good year for Democrats in Mississippi, but nationally, Obama's 65.4 million votes for President is the new record. His raw vote achievement is followed by George W. Bush's 62 million votes and John Kerry's 59 million votes both in 2004; John McCain's 57.4 million votes this year, and Ronald Reagan's 54.4 million votes in 1984.

In terms of actual electoral votes, Obama falls behind Bill Clinton, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt (four times), Dwight Eisenhower (twice), Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan (twice) whose 1984 campaign holds the electoral record at 525.

These election results remind us the 2008 election was the most important and historic election, since the last one and until the next one.

Brian Perry of Jackson, a former congressional aide, is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms.