Gallup Poll; Voter Turnout Possibly Lower Than Past Two Elections; Early Voting Resumes After Sandy

As early voting resumes in part of the eastern seaboard impacted by Hurricane Sandy, a recent poll suggests voter turnout may not be as high as previous years.

Gallup conducted a poll before tracking was suspended due to Sandy that suggested the voter turnout for the upcoming election will be less than the 2004 and 2008 elections.

The indicators that Gallup suggests are based on the percentage of registered voters who reported they are giving "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the election. This is compared to voters' reported likelihood of casting their ballot come Election Day.

According to Federal Election Commission data, the turnout for the 2004 election was 57 percent while the 2008 election turnout was 58 percent.

The lowest recorded turnout within the past 20 years was 49 percent in 1996 between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.

ABC reported that many political analysts don't think Sandy will have a major impact on voters.

 "I don't think Sandy changes things that much, although it has kept the candidates off the road in the battleground states," said Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.

"Turnout this time will not be as high as 2008 or even 2004," Gans added. "The storm will extend into Ohio and will definitely clobber Virginia and, maybe, New Hampshire. It will have an impact, but will it really affect partisanship?"

McDonald, who studies the effect of new early voting laws, agreed.

"The effects are probably going to be minimal. Most of the early votes (in the Northeast) are by mail and are relatively low in volume," McDonald said.

Early voting has resumed in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.

"Everything right now seems to be running smoothly and is on track as planned," said Matt McClellan, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

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