A cliff-hanger presidential election, major issues at stake, an estimated $6 billion spent in the 2012 campaigns, and a significant increase in eligible voters all failed to sustain the upward momentum for turnout from 2004 and 2008.
Voter turnout dipped from 62.3 percent of eligible citizens voting in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 in 2012. That figure was also below the 60.4 level of the 2004 election but higher than the 54.2 percent turnout in the 2000 election.
Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligible population, turnout declined from 131 million voters in 2008 to an estimated 126 million voters in 2012 when all ballots are tallied. Some 93 million eligible citizens did not vote.
The turnout percentage of eligibles voting was down from 2008 in every state and the District of Columbia, except two—Iowa and Louisiana. The turnout numbers of citizens who cast ballots were down in every state but six—Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Wisconsin.