Religion played a much more significant role in press treatment of Obama than of McCain during the 2008 campaign, but much of the coverage related to false yet persistent rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972.
A week after the election, voters are feeling good about themselves, the presidential campaign and Barack Obama. Looking ahead, they have high expectations for the Obama administration, with two-thirds predicting that he will have a successful first term.
"GOBAMA!" gushed Britain's Daily Mirror the day after Barack Obama's electoral victory. Other newspapers around the world were scarcely less enthusiastic but notes of concern and discord were also registered.
Prior to Massachusetts becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003, only three states had passed constitutional amendments prohibiting the practice. With amendments in California, Arizona and Florida passing this November, the number of states now stands at 29. A graphic charts the recent history of voter-approved state bans on gay marriage.
In remarks at a dinner at the Newseum hosted by the Roper Center, Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut analyzed the voter preferences revealed in exit and post-election polls and their implications for the incoming administration.
Barack Obama wasn't the only one to make history on Election Day 2008. Statehouses also broke ground on several fronts.
Gay marriage bans were among the most closely watched of the 153 measures on 36 states' ballots this year, a list that included scores of politically explosive social and fiscal issues including abortion, doctor-assisted suicide and various efforts to roll back state taxes.
President-elect Barack Obama made a concerted effort to reach out to people of faith during the 2008 presidential campaign, and early exit polls show that this outreach may have paid off on Election Day.
Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. In particular, the overwhelming backing of younger voters was a critical factor in Obama's victory, according to an analysis of National Election Pool exit poll data.