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Rhonda Small, 42, of Northwest, said she felt the presidential race was highly important. Mr. Obama is steadily leading an economic recovery, she said, and can continue to do so during a second term.

“People want to give Obama a hard time over not being able to produce within the first four years, but I think he definitely deserves another term,” she said. “But I think we will see even more improvements than we have over the first four years.”

George and Marjorie Hobart spent Tuesday handing out Democrat sample ballots near Lyon Park in Arlington, their stickers and pins supporting Mr. Obama worn proudly on their coats.

Mr. Hobart, 77, said during the last election, “there was just a wealth of enthusiasm for Obama and what he was bringing. It’s a little disheartening he hasn’t been able to do all he wanted to do.”

The Arlington man said he decided to do a two-hour shift handing out leaflets.

“I personally don’t have as much enthusiasm as 2008,” he said, “but I’ve noticed a lot of other people do have as much if not more.”

Mrs. Hobart said she made a few calls on behalf of the president because “it’s even more important to re-elect Obama.”

She said even though her yard boasts three pro-Obama signs, a woman campaigning for the president “still came up to the front door to make sure to talk to us.”

Sporting a gray “Obama” knit hat to keep away the cold, New York City resident Sam Rosen said he came down to Virginia to help out his daughter, who was working at one of the Alexandria polling centers in the Temple Beth El Synagogue.

“From New York, they’ve still got enthusiasm there,” the 68-year-old said. “It’s a lot more anti-Republican feeling. A lot of disappointment with Congress.”

Shuffling his hands and feet as a cold gust of wind blew through the temple parking lot, Mr. Rosen said Democrats’ mood this election was more like 2004 than 2008.

“Everyone was enthusiastic to get rid of Bush,” he said with a knowing smile. “That didn’t quite work out.”