Nearly two months after Election Day, officials in New York and elsewhere are still counting votes from the 2012 presidential election. David Wasserman, an editor at the Cook Political Report, has been tirelessly tracking the votes as they come in.
Wasserman’s updated numbers suggest some preliminary conclusions drawn shortly after the election need to be reconsidered.
Here’s what Slate reporter Beverly Gage wrote about the closeness of the race a few days after the election:
In the popular vote, the latest numbers suggest an Obama victory of 50.4 percent to Romney’s 48.1. This is not recount territory. Measured by the standards of the 20th century, though, it reflects a genuinely tight race … It’s a sign of how accustomed we’ve become to razor-thin margins of victory that Obama’s 2.3-percent popular-vote victory seems almost like a rout.
According to Wasserman’s spreadsheet, President Obama is now ahead of Mitt Romney 51.0 percent to 47.3. That’s a margin of nearly five million votes (65.6 million vs. 60.9 million). Not quite as tight as it first seemed.
And here’s what Breitbart.com reporter Michael Patrick Leahy wrote about turnout the day after the election (“2012 turnout dramatically lower than 2008“):
Despite all the talk about voter intensity surrounding the presidential election, 13 million fewer people voted in 2012 than in 2008.
Wasserman’s spreadsheet, however, shows that turnout declined by less than 3 million votes, or only 2.0 percent. A fair portion of that decline occurred in New York and New Jersey, and presumably were related to Hurricane Sandy.