In California, the 2008 campaign does not seem to have left a legacy of civic engagement. From the LA Times:
Voters streamed to the polls in November, lining up from before dawn until after nightfall, a tableau of involvement that cheered fans of democracy whether or not they supported the winners.In California, almost 80% of registered voters turned out, the highest percentage in 32 years. In Los Angeles, almost 83%. If not as dramatic as Iraqi citizens confirming their rights with ink-stained fingers, it was enough to suggest heightened interest in things political.Not so fast. Last week in parts of Los Angeles, voters were called to the polls once again, to elect a state Senate replacement for Mark Ridley-Thomas, a Democrat who had moved to the county Board of Supervisors. Little more than 6% showed up.It was not an anomaly: When the area's first post-presidential election, the Los Angeles mayor's race, was contested earlier this month, a muted 17% of the city's registered voters turned out ...
Robert Cole was the director of Obama's get-out-the-vote effort among African Americans in California, which succeeded dramatically. Last Tuesday, he was the third-place finisher among Democrats in the state Senate race. Rather than inspire heightened turnout, he said, Obama's campaign appeared to have left many voters burned out. "They felt they had performed their civic duty by voting for Barack Obama for president," he said.
Pasadena also had low turnout.
(More from the very useful Election Administration Research Center at Berkeley.)