Turnout likely lower than 2008

WASHINGTON A drop in voter turnout didn't keep President Barack Obama from winning a second term in the White House.

Early figures from states where more than 90 percent of the vote has been counted suggest fewer people voted this year than four years ago, when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Obama. That from Curtis Gans, a voting expert from American University.

Obama was hoping for robust turnout among minorities, a key component of his winning 2008 coalition, while Romney was looking for a strong showing among working-class white men, a group that has leaned his way in polls.

Obama in particular seemed keenly aware that his electoral fate hinged on turnout. In the final days of the race, his campaign shifted gears from working to persuade undecided voters to imploring those already in his corner to make sure they vote.

In some states, turnout appears to be substantially lower than in 2008. And in most states, the numbers are shaping up to be even lower than in 2004.

The full picture won't be known for weeks. That's because so many Americans this year voted early or by mail, especially in states like California.

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