American voters rejected ballot measures at a higher rate than usual – suggesting voter fatigue – but two big liberal social issues - legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage - made historic headway.
Conservatives' shock that Mitt Romney did not win big is further evidence, analysts say, that the public is consuming media that reinforce personal views rather than give actual information about the world.
An outcome that maintains the status quo in Washington guarantees Obama some important advantages. But the 2012 election results also foretell more gridlock, and the president, by not offering a path out of debt and deficit, lacks a clear mandate for action.
In Chicago at the Obama venue, the president's supporters are buoyed but hesitant to say he has a lock on the race. In Boston, Romney backers hope the last preelection polls didn't capture all of the GOP nominee's momentum.