(USA TODAY) - Gallup suggests voter turnout for the presidential election will be lower than in 2004 and 2008.
In polling taken before superstorm Sandy hit, Gallup says registered voters were giving less thought to the election and saying they were less likely to vote in the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Turnout for the 2004 and 2008 elections were at least 57% and 58% respectively, according to Federal Election Commission data. By comparison, voter turnout in the 1996 race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole was at 49% -- the lowest among elections held in the past 20 years.
Gallup cites two indicators in its analysis: The percentage of registered voters who say they are giving "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the election and the percentage who rate their likelihood of voting as a 10 on a 10-point scale.
Voter turnout expert Curtis Gans also is projecting a lower-turnout election and does not believe the storm will have a major impact.
"Turnout this time will not be as high as 2008 or even 2004," Gans told Scripps Howard News Service. "The storm will extend into Ohio and will definitely clobber Virginia and, maybe, New Hampshire. It will have an impact but will it really effect partisanship?"