A combination photographs shows U.S. President Barack Obama applauding the crowd gathered during his election night victory rally in Chicago, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney deliverinig his concession speech in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively, November 7, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Until the popular vote is fully counted and the totals are certified by each state's board of elections, we won't know exactly what this year's electorate looked like. But we can glean a great deal of information from exit polling.
Before the official tally can be recorded, each state must finish counting outstanding absentee and provisional ballots, many of which come from overseas.
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While the outcome isn't in dispute in any state, plenty of precincts, from small, rural towns to large cities, have yet to officially certify their vote totals.
But exit poll data sheds some light on the makeup of this year's voters and their choices.
In total, about 122 million people voted in this year's election.
Barack Obama won about 50.6 percent of their votes, or just under 61 million. Mitt Romney won about 47.8 percent of the vote, just under 58 million, but Obama's margin could grow to more than 3 percent once all the votes are in.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won a little over a million votes nationwide, or just under 1 percent, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein garnered less than half a million, taking about a third of a percent of the vote.
While Obama only had about a 2.5 percent margin of victory in the popular vote, he won the Electoral College 332 to 206, counting Florida's 29 votes, which aren't yet official, but make no difference to the end result either way.
That's nearly 62 percent of the Electoral College, a landslide by any measure.
As in 2008, Obama won the women's vote by a large margin, taking 55 percent of female votes. But Obama lost the men's vote, receiving only 45 percent of votes cast by men, unlike in 2008, when he also carried the male vote.
Romney did very well among white voters, with nearly 60 percent voting for him, but recent demographic shifts meant that wasn't enough for him to win. Obama carried minorities by a huge margin.
Over 93 percent of African-Americans voted for Obama this year, as well as 73 percent of Asian-Americans and 71 percent of Latinos.
Latinos voters in particular were a problem for Romney, and the Republicans, as their share of the electorate continues to grow, and they were crucial in winning important swing states for Obama, like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, and are the main reason New Mexico is now a solidly Democratic state.
Older voters went for Romney, and the younger the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Obama. Voters 40 and over favored Romney, and those 39 and under favored Obama.
Contrary to Republican predictions, turnout among young voters was actually slightly higher this year than in 2008, as was African-American turnout.
Turnout in every swing state except Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire was up, though it was down nearly 10 percent in the rest of the country.
New York and New Jersey also saw declines of around 15 percent due to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
As one might assume from the campaign, the higher a voter's income, the more likely they were to vote for Romney. He won 54 percent of the votes of people making more than $100,000 a year.
His support only dropped by 2 points among voters making between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.
Obama, however, won 60 percent of the votes of people who make less than $50,000 a year, and that group comprised 41 percent of the electorate. The median income in the United States is about $45,000 per year.
In an interesting result, level of education seemed to make little difference in a particular voter's preference. Obama led Romney by only 2 points among college graduates, 50 percent to 48 percent, almost exactly the result in the general population.
And Obama only did 1 point better among voters who don't have a college degree.
In fact, the more education a voter had, the more likely they were to vote for Romney, to a point, though the gap never increased beyond 4 points. However, among voters with the highest levels of education, those with schooling beyond the undergraduate level, support for Obama jumps to 55 percent, and drops to 42 percent for Romney, a 13-point gap not seen where else along that spectrum.