United States presidential election, 2012

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United States presidential election, 2012
United States
2008 ←
November 6, 2012
→ 2016

538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout58.2% (voting eligible)[1]
 Obama portrait crop.jpgMitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6 cropped.jpg
NomineeBarack ObamaMitt Romney
PartyDemocraticRepublican
Home stateIllinoisMassachusetts
Running mateJoe BidenPaul Ryan
Electoral vote332206
States carried26 + DC24
Popular vote65,915,79660,933,500
Percentage51.1%47.2%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 2012United States presidential election in Alaska, 2012United States presidential election in Arizona, 2012United States presidential election in Arkansas, 2012United States presidential election in California, 2012United States presidential election in Colorado, 2012United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012United States presidential election in Florida, 2012United States presidential election in Georgia, 2012United States presidential election in Hawaii, 2012United States presidential election in Idaho, 2012United States presidential election in Illinois, 2012United States presidential election in Indiana, 2012United States presidential election in Iowa, 2012United States presidential election in Kansas, 2012United States presidential election in Kentucky, 2012United States presidential election in Louisiana, 2012United States presidential election in Maine, 2012United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012United States presidential election in Michigan, 2012United States presidential election in Minnesota, 2012United States presidential election in Mississippi, 2012United States presidential election in Missouri, 2012United States presidential election in Montana, 2012United States presidential election in Nebraska, 2012United States presidential election in Nevada, 2012United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2012United States presidential election in New York, 2012United States presidential election in North Carolina, 2012United States presidential election in North Dakota, 2012United States presidential election in Ohio, 2012United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 2012United States presidential election in Oregon, 2012United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 2012United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 2012United States presidential election in South Carolina, 2012United States presidential election in South Dakota, 2012United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2012United States presidential election in Texas, 2012United States presidential election in Utah, 2012United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012United States presidential election in Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Washington, 2012United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 2012United States presidential election in Wyoming, 2012United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 2012ElectoralCollege2012.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states/districts won by Obama/Biden. Red denotes those won by Romney/Ryan. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.

President before election

Barack Obama
Democratic

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

 
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This article is about the United States presidential election held in 2012. For information about other elections held within the United States in 2012, see United States elections, 2012.
United States presidential election, 2012
United States
2008 ←
November 6, 2012
→ 2016

538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout58.2% (voting eligible)[1]
 Obama portrait crop.jpgMitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6 cropped.jpg
NomineeBarack ObamaMitt Romney
PartyDemocraticRepublican
Home stateIllinoisMassachusetts
Running mateJoe BidenPaul Ryan
Electoral vote332206
States carried26 + DC24
Popular vote65,915,79660,933,500
Percentage51.1%47.2%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 2012United States presidential election in Alaska, 2012United States presidential election in Arizona, 2012United States presidential election in Arkansas, 2012United States presidential election in California, 2012United States presidential election in Colorado, 2012United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012United States presidential election in Florida, 2012United States presidential election in Georgia, 2012United States presidential election in Hawaii, 2012United States presidential election in Idaho, 2012United States presidential election in Illinois, 2012United States presidential election in Indiana, 2012United States presidential election in Iowa, 2012United States presidential election in Kansas, 2012United States presidential election in Kentucky, 2012United States presidential election in Louisiana, 2012United States presidential election in Maine, 2012United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012United States presidential election in Michigan, 2012United States presidential election in Minnesota, 2012United States presidential election in Mississippi, 2012United States presidential election in Missouri, 2012United States presidential election in Montana, 2012United States presidential election in Nebraska, 2012United States presidential election in Nevada, 2012United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2012United States presidential election in New York, 2012United States presidential election in North Carolina, 2012United States presidential election in North Dakota, 2012United States presidential election in Ohio, 2012United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 2012United States presidential election in Oregon, 2012United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 2012United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 2012United States presidential election in South Carolina, 2012United States presidential election in South Dakota, 2012United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2012United States presidential election in Texas, 2012United States presidential election in Utah, 2012United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012United States presidential election in Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Washington, 2012United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 2012United States presidential election in Wyoming, 2012United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 2012ElectoralCollege2012.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states/districts won by Obama/Biden. Red denotes those won by Romney/Ryan. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.

President before election

Barack Obama
Democratic

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

The United States presidential election of 2012 was the 57th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The Democratic nominee, incumbent President Barack Obama, and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, were re-elected to a second term, defeating the Republican nominee, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

As the incumbent president, Obama secured the Democratic nomination with no serious opposition. The Republican Party was more fractured; Mitt Romney was consistently competitive in the polls, but faced challenges from a number of more conservative contenders whose popularity each fluctuated, often besting Romney's. Romney effectively secured the nomination by early May as the economy improved, albeit at a persistently laggard rate. The campaign was marked by a sharp rise in fundraising, including from new nominally independent Super PACs. The campaigns focused heavily on domestic issues: debate centered largely around sound responses to the Great Recession in terms of economic recovery and job creation. Other issues included long-term federal budget issues, the future of social insurance programs, and the Affordable Care Act. Foreign policy was also discussed including the phase-out of the Iraq War, the size of and spending on the military, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and appropriate counteractions to terrorism.

Obama would go on to win a decisive victory over Romney, winning both the popular vote and the electoral college, with 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206. He became the eleventh President and third Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote more than once. Obama carried all states and districts (among states that allocate electoral votes by district) that he had won in the 2008 presidential election except North Carolina, Indiana, and Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

Timeline[edit]

Final poll closing times on Election Day.
  7 p.m. EST [00:00 UTC] (6)
  7:30 p.m. EST [00:30 UTC] (3)
  8 p.m. EST [01:00 UTC] (15+DC)
  8:30 p.m. EST [01:30 UTC] (1)
  9 p.m. EST [02:00 UTC] (15)
  10 p.m. EST [03:00 UTC] (4)
  11 p.m. EST [04:00 UTC] (5)
  1 a.m. EST [06:00 UTC] (1)

Electoral college changes[edit]

The 2010 Census changed the electoral vote apportionment for the presidential elections from 2012 to 2020 in the states listed below:

Changes in electoral vote apportionment (increases in green, decreases in orange) following the 2010 Census.[5]

States won by Democrats
in 2000, 2004, and 2008

  • Illinois −1
  • Massachusetts −1
  • Michigan −1
  • New Jersey −1
  • New York −2
  • Pennsylvania −1
  • Washington +1

States won by Republicans
in 2000, 2004, and 2008

  • Arizona +1
  • Georgia +1
  • Louisiana −1
  • Missouri −1
  • South Carolina +1
  • Texas +4
  • Utah +1

Swing states

  • Florida (Democratic in 2008, Republican in 2000 and 2004) +2
  • Iowa (Democratic in 2000 and 2008, Republican in 2004) −1
  • Nevada (Democratic in 2008, Republican in 2000 and 2004) +1
  • Ohio (Democratic in 2008, Republican in 2000 and 2004) −2
The electoral map in 2008.
Changes in electoral vote apportionment following the 2010 census.

Eight states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington) gained votes due to reapportionment based on the 2010 Census. Ten states (Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) lost votes. This gave the Democratic Party a net loss of six electoral votes in states won by Democratic nominees in the previous three presidential elections, rendering the party a national total of 242 electoral votes. Conversely, the Republican Party achieved a net gain of six electoral votes in states won by Republican nominees in the previous three presidential elections, rendering the Republican Party a national total of 180 electoral votes.

State changes to voter registration and electoral rules[edit]

In 2011, several state legislatures passed new voting laws, especially pertaining to voter identification, with the stated purpose of combating voter fraud; the laws were attacked, however, by the Democratic Party as attempts to suppress voting among its supporters and to improve the Republican Party's presidential prospects. Florida, Georgia, Ohio,[6] Tennessee, and West Virginia's state legislatures approved measures to shorten early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all felons from voting. Kansas, South Carolina,[7] Tennessee, Texas[8] and Wisconsin[9] state legislatures passed laws requiring voters to have government-issued IDs before they could cast their ballots. This meant, typically, that people without driver's licenses or passports had to gain new forms of ID. Obama, the NAACP, and the Democratic Party fought against many of the new state laws.[10] Former President Bill Clinton denounced them, saying, "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today".[11] He was referring to Jim Crow laws passed in southern states near the turn of the twentieth century that disfranchised most blacks from voting and excluded them from the political process for more than six decades. Clinton said the moves would effectively disfranchise core voter blocs that trend liberal, including college students, Blacks, and Latinos.[12][13] Rolling Stone magazine criticized the American Legislative Exchange Council for lobbying in states to bring about these laws, to "solve" a problem that does not exist.[10] The Obama campaign fought against the Ohio law, pushing for a petition and statewide referendum to repeal it in time for the 2012 election.[14]

In addition, the Pennsylvania legislature proposed a plan to change its representation in the electoral college from the traditional winner-take-all model to a district-by-district model.[15] As the governorship and both houses of its legislature were Republican-controlled, the move was viewed by some as an attempt to reduce Democratic chances.[16][17][18]

Nominations[edit]

Democratic Party[edit]

Primaries[edit]

With an incumbent president running for re-election against token opposition, the race for the Democratic nomination was largely uneventful. The nomination process consisted of primaries and caucuses, held by the 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, high-ranking party members known as superdelegates each received one vote in the convention. A few of the primary challengers surpassed the president's vote total in individual counties in several of the seven contested primaries, though none made a significant impact in the delegate count. Running unopposed everywhere else, President Obama cemented his status as the Democratic presumptive nominee on April 3, 2012 by securing the minimum number of pledged delegates needed to obtain the nomination.[19][20]

Candidates[edit]

Republican Party[edit]

Primaries[edit]

Candidates with considerable name recognition who entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the early stages of the primary campaign included Representative and former Libertarian nominee Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who co-chaired John McCain's campaign in 2008, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the runner-up for the nomination in the 2008 cycle, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The first debate took place on May 5, 2011 in Greenville, South Carolina, with businessman Herman Cain, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum participating. Another debate took place a month later, with Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and Rep. Michele Bachmann participating, and Gary Johnson excluded. A total of thirteen debates were held before the Iowa caucuses.

The first major event of the campaign was the Ames Straw Poll, which took place in Iowa on August 13, 2011. Michele Bachmann won the straw poll (this ultimately proved to be the acme of her campaign).[21] Pawlenty withdrew from the race after a poor showing in the straw poll, as did Thaddeus McCotter, the only candidate among those who qualified for the ballot who was refused entrance into the debate.[22]

It became clear at around this point in the nomination process that while Romney was considered to be the likely nominee by the Republican establishment, a large segment of the conservative primary electorate found him to be too moderate for their political views. As a result, a number of potential "anti-Romney" candidates were put forward,[23][24] including Donald Trump,[25] Sarah Palin,[26] Michele Bachmann, and Texas Governor Rick Perry,[27] the last of whom decided to run in August 2011. Perry did poorly in the debates, however, and Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich came into the fore in October and November.

Due to a number of scandals, Cain withdrew just before the end of the year, after having gotten on the ballot in several states.[28] Around the same time, Johnson, who had been able to get into only one other debate, withdrew to seek the Libertarian Party nomination.[29]

For the first time in modern Republican Party history, three different candidates won the first three primary contests in January (Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina).[30] Although Romney had been expected to win in at least Iowa and New Hampshire, Rick Santorum won Iowa by 34 votes,[31] Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a surprisingly large margin,[32] and Romney won only in New Hampshire.

A number of candidates dropped out at this point in the nomination process. Bachmann withdrew after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses,[33] Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina.[34]

Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.

Santorum, who had previously run an essentially one-state campaign in Iowa, was able to organize a national campaign after his surprising victory in Iowa. He unexpectedly carried three states in a row on February 7 and overtook Romney in nationwide opinion polls, becoming the only candidate in the race to effectively challenge the notion that Romney was the inevitable nominee.[35] However, Romney won all of the other contests between South Carolina and the Super Tuesday primaries, and regained his first-place status in nationwide opinion polls by the end of February.

The Super Tuesday primaries took place on March 6. Romney carried six states, Santorum carried three, and Gingrich won only in his home state of Georgia.[36] Throughout the rest of March, 266 delegates were allocated in 12 events, including the territorial contests and the first local conventions that allocated delegates (Wyoming's county conventions). Santorum won Kansas and three Southern primaries, but he was unable to make any substantial gain on Romney, who became a formidable frontrunner after securing more than half of the delegates allocated in March.

On April 10, Santorum suspended his campaign due to a variety of reasons, such as a low delegate count, unfavorable polls in his home state of Pennsylvania, and his daughter's health, leaving Mitt Romney as the undisputed front-runner for the presidential nomination and allowing Gingrich to claim that he was "the last conservative standing" in the campaign for the nomination.[37] After disappointing results in the April 24 primaries (finishing second in one state, third in three, and fourth in one[38]), Gingrich dropped out on May 2 in a move that was seen as an effective end to the nomination contest.[39] After Gingrich's spokesman announced his upcoming withdrawal, the Republican National Committee declared Romney the party's presumptive nominee.[40] Ron Paul officially remained in the race, but he stopped campaigning on May 14 to focus on state conventions.

On May 29, after winning the Texas primary, Romney had received a sufficient number of delegates to clinch the party's nomination with the inclusion of unpledged delegates. After winning the June 5 primaries in California and several other states, Romney had received more than enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination without counting unpledged delegates, making the June 26 Utah Primary, the last contest of the cycle, purely symbolic. CNN's final delegate estimate, released on July 27, 2012, put Romney at 1,462 pledged delegates and 62 unpledged delegates, for a total estimate of 1,524 delegates. No other candidate had unpledged delegates. The delegate estimates for the other candidates were Santorum at 261 delegates, Paul at 154, Gingrich at 142, Bachmann at 1, Huntsman at 1, and all others at 0.[41]

On August 28, 2012, delegates at the Republican National Convention officially named Romney the party's presidential nominee.[42] Romney formally accepted the delegates' nomination on August 30, 2012.[43]

Candidates[edit]

Libertarian Party[edit]

Candidates[edit]

The Libertarian Party nominated the Former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, for the Presidency, and nominated Johnson's selection California Judge James Gray for the Vice Presidency.

Green Party[edit]

Candidates[edit]

The Presidential Nomination of the Green Party was primarily fought for by two of its candidates, Jill Stein who was Chair of the Green-Rainbow Party in Massachusetts, and Roseanne Barr a noted Comedian. While Barr unexpectedly proved to be a formidable opponent for Stein, her campaign was fatally injured when she lost the party's California presidential primary. While Stein managed to comfortably carry the nomination at Baltimore, Barr sought and later attained the Peace and Freedom Party's nomination. Cheri Honkala, and anti-poverty advocate from Pennsylvania, was nominated to be Stein's running-mate.

Constitution Party[edit]

Candidates[edit]

Initially there was little challenge against Virgil Goode, who had only declared his intention to run for the nomination in February. At the Party's convention in Nashville however Darrell Castle, who had been the party's nominee for the Vice Presidency in 2008, decided to run himself at the urging of a number of the delegates present, despite his prior promises to both Goode and Robby Wells that he had no intention of seeking the nomination. Virgil Goode managed to attain the nomination on the first ballot, just barely attaining a majority of the vote. Jim Clymer, who up to that time was the Chairman of the Constitution Party, was named his running mate.

Justice Party[edit]

Candidates[edit]

The Justice Party nominated its prime founder, former Mayor Rocky Anderson, as its Presidential nominee in its first election to that office. Luis J. Rodriguez, a noted poet and novelist, was selected to be his running-mate in the election.

Campaigns[edit]

Ballot access[edit]

Presidential ticketPartyBallot access[71] % of voters seeing name on ballotVotes
Obama / BidenDemocratic50+DC100%65,915,796
Romney / RyanRepublican50+DC100%60,933,500
Johnson / GrayLibertarian48+ DC95.1%1,275,951
Stein / HonkalaGreen36 + DC83.1%469,628
Goode / ClymerConstitution2649.9%122,388
Anderson / RodriguezJustice1528.1%43,018
Lindsay / OsorioSocialism & Liberation1328.6%7,791

All other candidates were on the ballots of fewer than 10 states, and less than 20% of voters nationwide saw their names on the ballot.

Financing and advertising[edit]

The United States presidential election of 2012 broke new records in financing, fundraising, and negative campaigning. Through grass-roots campaign contributions, online donations, and Super PACs, Obama and Romney raised a combined total of more than two billion dollars.[72] Super PACs constituted nearly one fourth of the total financing, with most of the total coming from pro-Romney PACs.[73] Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008.[74] Most of the advertising in the 2012 presidential campaign was decidedly negative: it was found that 80% of the ads put out by Obama and 84% of the ads put out by Romney were negative.[75]

Party conventions[edit]

Map of United States showing Charlotte, Tampa, Nashville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Baltimore
Charlotte
Charlotte
Tampa
Tampa
Nashville
Nashville
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Baltimore
Baltimore
Magnify-clip.png
Sites of the 2012 national party conventions.

Debates[edit]

The Commission on Presidential Debates held four debates during the last weeks of the campaign: three presidential and one vice-presidential. The major issues debated were the economy and jobs, the federal budget deficit, taxation and spending, the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, healthcare reform, education, social issues, immigration, and foreign policy.

Debate schedule:

President Obama talks with Ron Klain during presidential debate preparations. Senator John Kerry, at podium, played the role of Mitt Romney during the preparatory sessions.

An independent presidential debate featuring minor party candidates took place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.[86][87] The debate was moderated by Larry King[88] and organized by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.[87] The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice).[87][88] A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Monday, November 5 in Washington, D.C.[89][90] It was hosted by RT[91] and moderated by Thom Hartmann and Christina Tobin.

Notable expressions, phrases, and statements[edit]

Results[edit]

Popular vote totals are from the official Federal Election Commission report. The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 4, 2013.[97]

Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPctVice-presidential candidateHome stateElect. vote
Barack ObamaDemocraticIllinois65,915,79651.06%332Joe BidenDelaware332
Mitt RomneyRepublicanMassachusetts60,933,50047.20%206Paul RyanWisconsin206
Gary JohnsonLibertarianNew Mexico1,275,9710.99%0James P. GrayCalifornia0
Jill SteinGreenMassachusetts469,6280.36%0Cheri HonkalaPennsylvania0
Virgil GoodeConstitutionVirginia122,3880.09%0Jim ClymerPennsylvania0
Roseanne BarrPeace and FreedomHawaii67,3260.05%0Cindy SheehanCalifornia0
Rocky AndersonJusticeUtah43,0180.03%0Luis J. RodriguezCalifornia0
Tom HoeflingAmerica'sIowa40,6280.03%0Jonathan D. EllisTennessee0
Other217,1480.17%Other
Total129,085,403100%538538
Needed to win270270
Popular vote
Obama
  
51.06%
Romney
  
47.20%
Johnson
  
0.99%
Stein
  
0.36%
Others
  
0.38%
Electoral vote
Obama
  
61.71%
Romney
  
38.29%

Votes by states[edit]

President Obama casts his ballot at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.

The table below displays the official vote tallies by state. The source for the results of all states, except those that amended their official results, is the official Federal Election Commission report. The column labeled "Margin" shows Obama's margin of victory over Romney (the margin is negative for states won by Romney).

States/districts won by Obama/Biden
States/districts won by Romney/Ryan
StateElectorsObama%Romney%Johnson%Stein%Others%Margin%Total
Alabama9795,69638.36%1,255,92560.55%12,3280.59%3,3970.16%6,9920.34%−460,229−22.19%2,074,338
Alaska3122,64040.81%164,67654.80%7,3922.46%2,9170.97%2,8700.96%−42,036−13.99%300,495
Arizona111,025,23244.59%1,233,65453.65%32,1001.40%7,8160.34%4520.02%−208,422−9.06%2,299,254
Arkansas6394,40936.88%647,74460.57%16,2761.52%9,3050.87%1,7340.16%−253,335−23.69%1,069,468
California557,854,28560.24%4,839,95837.12%143,2211.10%85,6380.66%115,4450.89%3,014,32723.12%13,038,547
Colorado91,323,10151.49%1,185,24346.13%35,5451.38%7,5080.29%18,1230.71%137,8585.37%2,569,520
Connecticut7905,08358.06%634,89240.73%12,5800.81%8630.06%5,5420.36%270,19117.33%1,558,960
Delaware3242,58458.61%165,48439.98%3,8820.94%1,9400.47%310.01%77,10018.63%413,921
District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia3267,07090.91%21,3817.28%2,0830.71%2,4580.84%7720.26%245,68983.63%293,764
Florida294,237,75650.01%4,163,44749.13%44,7260.53%8,9470.11%19,3030.23%74,3090.88%8,474,179
Georgia161,773,82745.48%2,078,68853.30%45,3241.16%1,5160.04%6950.02%−304,861−7.82%3,900,050
Hawaii4306,65870.55%121,01527.84%3,8400.88%3,1840.73%00.00%185,64342.71%434,697
Idaho4212,78732.62%420,91164.53%9,4531.45%4,4020.67%4,7210.72%−208,124−31.91%652,274
Illinois203,019,51257.60%2,135,21640.73%56,2291.07%30,2220.58%8350.02%884,29616.87%5,242,014
Indiana111,152,88743.93%1,420,54354.13%50,1111.91%6250.02%3680.01%−267,656−10.20%2,624,534
Iowa6822,54451.99%730,61746.18%12,9260.82%3,7690.24%12,3240.78%91,9275.81%1,582,180
Kansas6440,72637.99%692,63459.71%20,4561.76%7140.06%5,4410.47%−251,908−21.72%1,159,971
Kentucky8679,37037.80%1,087,19060.49%17,0630.95%6,3370.35%7,2520.40%−407,820−22.69%1,797,212
Louisiana8809,14140.58%1,152,26257.78%18,1570.91%6,9780.35%7,5270.38%−343,121−17.21%1,994,065
Maine4401,30656.27%292,27640.98%9,3521.31%8,1191.14%2,1270.30%109,03015.29%713,180
Maryland101,677,84461.97%971,86935.90%30,1951.12%17,1100.63%10,3090.38%705,97526.08%2,707,327
Massachusetts111,921,29060.65%1,188,31437.51%30,9200.98%20,6910.65%6,5520.21%732,97623.14%3,167,767
Michigan162,564,56954.21%2,115,25644.71%7,7740.16%21,8970.46%21,4650.45%449,3139.50%4,730,961
Minnesota101,546,16752.65%1,320,22544.96%35,0981.20%13,0230.44%22,0480.75%225,9427.69%2,936,561
Mississippi6562,94943.79%710,74655.29%6,6760.52%1,5880.12%3,6250.28%−147,797−11.50%1,285,584
Missouri101,223,79644.38%1,482,44053.76%43,1511.56%00.00%7,9360.29%−258,644−9.38%2,757,323
Montana3201,83941.70%267,92855.35%14,1652.93%00.00%1160.02%−66,089−13.65%484,048
Nebraska5302,08138.03%475,06459.80%11,1091.40%00.00%6,1250.77%−172,983−21.78%794,379
Nevada6531,37352.36%463,56745.68%10,9681.08%00.00%9,0100.89%67,8066.68%1,014,918
New Hampshire4369,56151.98%329,91846.40%8,2121.16%3240.05%2,9570.42%39,6435.58%710,972
New Jersey[98]142,125,10158.38%1,477,56840.59%21,0450.58%9,8880.27%6,6900.18%647,53317.81%3,640,292
New Mexico5415,33552.99%335,78842.84%27,7883.55%2,6910.34%2,1560.28%79,54710.15%783,758
New York[99]294,485,74163.35%2,490,43135.17%47,2560.67%39,9820.56%17,7490.25%1,995,31028.18%7,081,159
North Carolina152,178,39148.35%2,270,39550.39%44,5150.99%00.00%12,0710.27%−92,004−2.04%4,505,372
North Dakota3124,82738.69%188,16358.32%5,2311.62%1,3610.42%3,0450.94%−63,336−19.63%322,627
Ohio[100]182,827,71050.67%2,661,43347.69%49,4930.89%18,5740.33%23,6300.42%166,2772.98%5,580,840
Oklahoma7443,54733.23%891,32566.77%00.00%00.00%00.00%−447,778−33.54%1,334,872
Oregon7970,48854.24%754,17542.15%24,0891.35%19,4271.09%21,0911.18%216,31312.09%1,789,270
Pennsylvania202,990,27451.97%2,680,43446.59%49,9910.87%21,3410.37%11,6300.20%309,8405.39%5,753,670
Rhode Island4279,67762.70%157,20435.24%4,3880.98%2,4210.54%2,3590.53%122,47327.46%446,049
South Carolina9865,94144.09%1,071,64554.56%16,3210.83%5,4460.28%4,7650.24%−205,704−10.47%1,964,118
South Dakota3145,03939.87%210,61057.89%5,7951.59%00.00%2,3710.65%−65,571−18.02%363,815
Tennessee11960,70939.08%1,462,33059.48%18,6230.76%6,5150.26%10,4000.42%−501,621−20.40%2,458,577
Texas383,308,12441.38%4,569,84357.17%88,5801.11%24,6570.31%2,6470.03%−1,261,719−15.78%7,993,851
Utah6251,81324.75%740,60072.79%12,5721.24%3,8170.38%8,6380.85%−488,787−48.04%1,017,440
Vermont3199,23966.57%92,69830.97%3,4871.17%5940.20%3,2721.09%106,54135.60%299,290
Virginia131,971,82051.16%1,822,52247.28%31,2160.81%8,6270.22%20,3040.53%149,2983.87%3,854,489
Washington121,755,39656.16%1,290,67041.29%42,2021.35%20,9280.67%16,3200.52%464,72614.87%3,125,516
West Virginia5238,26935.54%417,65562.30%6,3020.94%4,4060.66%3,8060.57%−179,386−26.76%670,438
Wisconsin[101]101,620,98552.83%1,407,96645.89%20,4390.67%7,6650.25%11,3790.37%213,0196.94%3,068,434
Wyoming369,28627.82%170,96268.64%5,3262.14%00.00%3,4871.40%−101,676−40.82%249,061
U.S. Total53865,915,79651.06%60,933,50047.20%1,275,9710.99%469,6280.36%490,5080.38%4,982,2963.86%129,085,403

Maine and Nebraska district results[edit]

Maine and Nebraska each allow for their electoral votes to be split between candidates. In the 2012 election, all four of Maine's electoral votes were won by Obama and all five of Nebraska's electoral votes were won by Romney. The following table records the official presidential vote tallies for Maine and Nebraska's congressional districts.[102][103]

DistrictObama%Romney%Johnson%Stein%Terry%Paul%Total
Maine's 1st congressional district223,03559.57%142,93738.18%4,5011.20%3,9461.05%00.00%1,0070.26%383,130
Maine's 2nd congressional district177,99852.94%149,21544.38%4,8431.44%4,1701.24%00.00%1,0140.30%336,226
Nebraska's 1st congressional district108,08240.83%152,02157.43%3,8471.45%00.00%7620.29%00.00%264,712
Nebraska's 2nd congressional district121,88945.70%140,97652.85%3,3931.27%00.00%4690.18%00.00%266,727
Nebraska's 3rd congressional district72,11027.82%182,06770.24%3,8691.49%00.00%1,1770.45%00.00%259,223

Close races[edit]

Swing from 2008 to 2012 in each state. Only six states trended more Democratic in 2012: Alaska, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York. The arrows to the right represent how many places up or down on the list the state moved since 2008. States are listed by (increasing) percentage of Democratic votes.

Red font color denotes states (or congressional districts that contribute an electoral vote) won by Republican Mitt Romney; blue denotes those won by Democrat Barack Obama.

States where the margin of victory was under 5% (75 electoral votes):

  1. Florida, 0.88%
  2. North Carolina, 2.04%
  3. Ohio, 2.98%
  4. Virginia, 3.87%

States/districts where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (119 electoral votes):

  1. Colorado, 5.37%
  2. Pennsylvania, 5.39%
  3. New Hampshire, 5.58%
  4. Iowa, 5.81%
  5. Nevada, 6.68%
  6. Wisconsin, 6.94%
  7. Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 7.16%
  8. Minnesota, 7.69%
  9. Georgia, 7.82%
  10. Maine's 2nd Congressional District, 8.56%
  11. Arizona, 9.06%
  12. Missouri, 9.38%
  13. Michigan, 9.50%

Romney's concession[edit]

Obama takes a phone call from Romney conceding the election early Wednesday morning in Chicago.

After the networks called Ohio (the state that was arguably the most critical for Romney, as no Republican had ever won the election without carrying it) for Obama at around 11:15 PM EST on Election Day, Romney was ready to concede the race, but hesitated when Karl Rove strenuously objected on Fox News to the network's decision to make that call.[104][105] However, after Colorado and Nevada were called for the President (giving Obama enough electoral votes to win even if Ohio were to leave his column), in tandem with Obama's apparent lead in Florida and Virginia (both were eventually called for Obama), Romney acknowledged that he had lost and conceded at around 1:00 AM EST on November 7.

Despite public polling showing Romney behind Obama in the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Hampshire, tied with Obama in Virginia, and just barely ahead of Obama in Florida, the Romney campaign said they were genuinely surprised by the loss, having believed that public polling was oversampling Democrats.[106] The Romney campaign had already set up a transition website, and had scheduled and purchased a fireworks display to celebrate in case he won the election.[107][108]

On November 30, 2012, it was revealed that shortly before the election, internal polling done by the Romney campaign had shown Romney ahead in Colorado and New Hampshire, tied in Iowa, and within a few points of Obama in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio.[109] In addition, the Romney campaign had assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.[110] The polls had made Romney and his campaign team so confident of their victory that Romney did not write a concession speech until Obama's victory was announced.[111][112]

Reactions[edit]

Foreign leaders reacted with both positive and mixed messages. Most world leaders congratulated and praised Barack Obama on his re-election victory. However, Venezuela and some other states had tempered reactions. Pakistan commented that Romney's defeat had made Pakistan-United States relations safer. Stock markets fell noticeably after Obama's re-election, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and the S&P 500 each declining over two percent the day after the election.[113] The main reason given for the sharp drop was the potential of an unresolved "fiscal cliff" due to the continued split control of the House, the Senate, and the White House.

Voter demographics[edit]

2012 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup
Demographic subgroupObamaRomneyOther % of
total vote
Total vote51472100
Ideology
Liberals8611325
Moderates5641340
Conservatives1782135
Party
Democrats927138
Republicans693132
Independents4550529
Gender
Men4552347
Women5544153
Gender by marital status
Married men3860229
Married women4653131
Non-married men5640418
Non-married women6731223
Race
White3959272
Black936113
Hispanic7127210
Asian732613
Other583842
Religion
Protestant or other Christian4356151
Catholic5048225
Mormon217812
Jewish693012
Other742337
None7026412
Religious service attendance
More than once a week3663114
Once a week4158128
A few times a month5544113
A few times a year5642227
Never6234417
White evangelical or born-again Christian?
White evangelical or born-again Christian2178126
Everyone else6037374
Age
18–24 years old6036411
25–29 years old603828
30–39 years old5542317
40–49 years old4850220
50–64 years old4752128
65 and older4456016
Sexual orientation
Gay, lesbian, or bisexual762225
Heterosexual4949295
Education
Not a high school graduate643513
High school graduate5148121
Some college education4948329
College graduate4751229
Postgraduate education5542318
Family income
Under $30,0006335220
$30,000–49,9995742121
$50,000–99,9994652231
$100,000–199,9994454221
$200,000–249,999475213
Over $250,000425534
Region
Northeast5939221
Midwest5147224
South4454234
West5443321
Community size
Big cities (population over 500,000)6929211
Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000)5840221
Suburbs4850247
Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000)425628
Rural areas3761214

Source: Exit polls conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, N.J., for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News,[114] and NBC News.[115] Total vote and results by region are based on the "Votes by state" section of this article.

Analysis[edit]

Combined with the re-elections of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama's victory in the 2012 election marked only the second time in American history that three consecutive presidents were each elected to two or more full terms (the first time being the consecutive two-term presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe).[116] This was also the first election since 1944 in which neither of the major candidates had any military experience.

The 2012 election marked the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt's last two re-elections in 1940 and 1944 that a Democratic presidential candidate won a majority of the popular vote in two consecutive elections.[117] Obama was also the first president of either party to secure at least 51% of the popular vote in two elections since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.[118] Overall, Obama is the third Democratic president to secure at least 51% of the vote twice, after Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Romney lost his home state of Massachusetts, becoming the first major party presidential candidate to lose his home state since Democrat Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee to Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 election.[119] Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856.[120] Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state.[121][122] In addition, since Obama carried Ryan's home state of Wisconsin, the Romney–Ryan ticket was the first major party ticket since the 1972 election to have both of its nominees lose their home states.[120]

Gary Johnson's popular vote total set a Libertarian Party record, and his popular vote percentage is the second-best showing for a Libertarian in a presidential election, trailing only Ed Clark's in 1980.[123]

In total, three states saw Romney win the popular vote in every county - Utah, Oklahoma and West Virginia. Conversely, four states - Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii - saw Obama win the popular vote in every county.

Maps[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Heilemann, John; Halperin, Mark (2013). Double Down: Game Change 2012. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 1594204403. 
  • Mayer, William G.; Bernstein, Jonathan, eds. (2012). The Making of the Presidential Candidates, 2012. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-1170-4.  Scholars explore nominations in the post-public-funding era, digital media and campaigns, television coverage, and the Tea Party.
  • Miller, William J., ed. The 2012 Nomination and the Future of the Republican Party: The Internal Battle (Lexington Books; 2013) 265 pages; essays by experts on Romney and each of his main rivals
  • Nelson, Michael, ed. The Elections of 2012 (2013) excerpt and text search; topical essays by experts
  • Sides, John, and Lynn Vavreck. The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election (Princeton U.P. 2013) excerpt and text search

External links[edit]