Using the invaluable running tab of votes kept by David Wasserman of the Cook Report, I did a map outlining turnout difference between 2008 and 2012. Blue states are where turnout was higher in 2012, red states are where it was lower. New Hampshire matched its 2008 turnout:
A few comments:
- The Atlantic seaboard states with large African-American populations (South Carolina to Maryland) increased their turnout
- Western swing states with large Hispanic populations increased their turnout and brought Utah along with them.
- The Upper Midwest came out in droves (excepting MI)
- New York and New Jersey saw substantial drops, likely due to Sandy
- Florida had nearly $170 million advertising dollars spent in it, which may have driven people to the polls (if only to get away from their TVs)
Notably of the swing states, Ohio turnout was down 2.23% from 2008. Obama voters were down 100,000 from 2008, but Romney only barely matched McCain’s total from that year.
Overall, turnout was down 2% from 2008, a much smaller drop-off than one might expect given 2008′s status as a “wave” election. This level of turnout may, in fact, be the new normal, as partisanship sends people to the polls more reliably than before, and the effectiveness of campaigns (especially Presidential ones) at micro-targeting their voters increases.