Maryland turnout off, but Obama's support slips little

Voter turnout in Maryland in 2012's general election dropped by more than 8 percentage points from 2008 but President Obama's vote percentage slipped much less than in  other states, according to the State Board of Elections.
Unofficial figures show a turnout of 69.04 percent compared with the spectacular 77.63 percent registered in Obama's first election. But voting appeared to be off roughly equally among both Democrats and Republicans.
Obama's support dropped a half point from 2008 -- 61.4 percent compared with the 61.9 percent he garnered against John McCain. That's much less than his decline nationally of about 2.5 percentage points.
Obama's total vote dropped by about 95,000 from 2008 levels. Mitt Romney got about 49,000 fewer votes than McCain.
The county-by-county breakdown remained remarkably stable. Only one county flipped: Kent, from Democratic to Republican. Obama won that county by 48 votes in 2008 but lost it by 71 this year.
Obama improved on his 2008 total in only one county: Charles, where he tallied more than 3,000 additional votes in an increasingly Democratic stronghold.
Among Maryland's large counties, Anne Arundel was the closest. Romney won 49.2 percent of votes there to Obama's 48.3 percent. Ominously for Republicans in the county, the president came closer to parity with the Republican nominee there than he did in 2008, losing by only 2,254 votes.  Four years earlier he trailed McCain by 4,667 votes. Demographic trends could soon turn Arundel from light red to pale blue -- at least in presidential years.
The president saw more slippage in another traditionally Republican county where Democrats have been gaining; Frederick. His 2008 deficit of 1,057 widened to 4,302.
Garrett hung onto its title as Maryland's most Republican County, giving Romney 74.7 percent of the vote to Obama's 23.4 percent. But Prince George's delivered almost 90 percent of its votes for the president -- making it one of his best counties in the nation.
The award for most improved party performance in Maryland goes to the Libertarians. Their nominee this year, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, nearly tripled the vote of his 2008 counterpart, Bob Barr. Johnson gained 27, 849 votes, or 1.1 percent, compared with Barr's 9,842, or 0.4 percent.

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