US voter turnout to fall short of previous two elections

Updated: 2012-10-31 10:26


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WASHINGTON - Voter turnout in the 2012 US presidential election will fall short of what it was in 2004 and 2008, a pollster said Tuesday.

Registered voters reported giving less thought to the election, and were less likely to rate their chance of voting than in 2004 and 2008, two higher-turnout elections, the national pollster Gallup said.

Eighty-five percent of respondents said they gave "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the election, which was lower than 87 percent and 90 percent in the 2008 and the 2004 elections, Gallup said.

Meanwhile, 83 percent of the respondents rated the likelihood of voting as a "10" on a 10-point scale, compared to 86 percent in 2008 and 89 percent in 2004.

However, the 2012 figures are higher than in 1996 and 2000, two lower-turnout elections, when proportionately few Americans voted.

Tracking voter turnout from Oct 15 to Oct 28, the poll was conducted before superstorm Sandy started battering the East Coast from Monday. How would the storm affect the voter turnout remains unclear.

Many voters in the affected region who have intention of voting may be unable to go to the polls on the Election Day on Nov 6. Early voting may also be affected, though it is far less common to vote earlier in East Coast than in other parts of the country.

As this year's presidential race between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been a dead heat, both candidates are counting on a higher turnout of their supporters to clinch a win.