President-elect Barack Obama bet on an unprecedented surge of new voters to carry him to victory last month. He won without the record turnout.
About 130 million Americans voted, up from 122 million four years ago. Still, turnout fell short of the 140 million voters many experts had forecast. With a little more than 61 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, the 2008 results also didn't match the record 63.8 percent turnout rate that helped propel President John F. Kennedy to victory in 1960.
"I was very surprised on election night as I was seeing the totals as they were mounting," said Rhodes Cook, a turnout and voting-behavior expert in Virginia.