United States presidential election, 2012

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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
Turnout 58.2% (voting eligible)[1]
  Obama portrait crop.jpg Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6 cropped.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama Mitt Romney
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Massachusetts
Running mate Joe Biden Paul Ryan
Electoral vote 332 206
States carried 26 + DC 24
Popular vote 65,915,796 60,933,500
Percentage 51.1% 47.2%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 2012 United States presidential election in Alaska, 2012 United States presidential election in Arizona, 2012 United States presidential election in Arkansas, 2012 United States presidential election in California, 2012 United States presidential election in Colorado, 2012 United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012 United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012 United States presidential election in Florida, 2012 United States presidential election in Georgia, 2012 United States presidential election in Hawaii, 2012 United States presidential election in Idaho, 2012 United States presidential election in Illinois, 2012 United States presidential election in Indiana, 2012 United States presidential election in Iowa, 2012 United States presidential election in Kansas, 2012 United States presidential election in Kentucky, 2012 United States presidential election in Louisiana, 2012 United States presidential election in Maine, 2012 United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012 United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012 United States presidential election in Michigan, 2012 United States presidential election in Minnesota, 2012 United States presidential election in Mississippi, 2012 United States presidential election in Missouri, 2012 United States presidential election in Montana, 2012 United States presidential election in Nebraska, 2012 United States presidential election in Nevada, 2012 United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012 United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012 United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2012 United States presidential election in New York, 2012 United States presidential election in North Carolina, 2012 United States presidential election in North Dakota, 2012 United States presidential election in Ohio, 2012 United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 2012 United States presidential election in Oregon, 2012 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 2012 United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 2012 United States presidential election in South Carolina, 2012 United States presidential election in South Dakota, 2012 United States presidential election in Tennessee, 2012 United States presidential election in Texas, 2012 United States presidential election in Utah, 2012 United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012 United States presidential election in Virginia, 2012 United States presidential election in Washington, 2012 United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012 United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 2012 United States presidential election in Wyoming, 2012 United States presidential election in Delaware, 2012 United States presidential election in Maryland, 2012 United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2012 United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012 United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 2012 United States presidential election in Connecticut, 2012 United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2012 United States presidential election in Vermont, 2012 United 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)
  • September–October 2012: Early voting begins in some states and continue as late as November 5.[2]
  • November 6, 2012: Election Day; at around 11:15 p.m. EST, the networks call Ohio for Obama, projecting him the winner of the election.
  • November 7, 2012: Romney concedes the election to Obama at around 1:00 a.m. EST.
  • November 10, 2012: The electoral outcomes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia have been definitively projected (the electoral outcome in Florida remained uncertain until November 10). Obama won 332 electoral votes while Romney won 206 electoral votes.
  • December 17, 2012: The Electoral College formally re-elects President Obama and Vice President Biden.[3]
  • January 3, 2013: The 113th Congress is sworn in.
  • January 4, 2013: Electoral votes are formally counted before a joint session of Congress. The re-election of President Obama and Vice President Biden is certified.
  • January 20, 2013: President Obama and Vice President Biden take the oaths of office; Obama's second presidential term begins at noon.
  • January 21, 2013: The inauguration ceremonies are held.[4]

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 Democrats Abroad. 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]

Other nominations[edit]

Four other parties nominated candidates that had ballot access or write-in access to at least 270 electoral votes, the minimum number of votes needed in the 2012 election to win the presidency through a majority of the electoral college.

Libertarian Party[edit]

Gary Johnson

Green Party[edit]

Jill Stein

Constitution Party[edit]

Virgil Goode

Justice Party[edit]

Rocky Anderson

Campaigns[edit]

Ballot access[edit]

Presidential ticket Party Ballot access[80]  % of voters seeing name on ballot Votes
Obama / Biden Democratic 50+DC 100% 65,915,796
Romney / Ryan Republican 50+DC 100% 60,933,500
Johnson / Gray Libertarian 48+ DC 95.1% 1,275,951
Stein / Honkala Green 36 + DC 83.1% 469,628
Goode / Clymer Constitution 26 49.9% 122,388
Anderson / Rodriguez Justice 15 28.1% 43,018
Lindsay / Osorio Socialism & Liberation 13 28.6% 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.[81] Super PACs constituted nearly one fourth of the total financing, with most of the total coming from pro-Romney PACs.[82] Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008.[83] 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.[84]

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
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.[94][95] The debate was moderated by Larry King[96] and organized by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.[95] The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice).[95][96] A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Monday, November 5 in Washington, D.C.[97][98] It was hosted by RT[99] and moderated by Thom Hartmann and Christina Tobin.

Notable expressions, phrases, and statements[edit]

  • Severely conservative – In a speech he made at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2012, Romney claimed that he had been a "severely conservative Republican governor". Romney's description of his record as "severely conservative" was widely criticized by political commentators as both rhetorically clumsy and factually inaccurate.[100][101][102] Later, the phrase "severely conservative" was frequently brought up by Democrats to make fun of Romney's willingness to associate himself with the far-right of the Republican Party as well as his apparent lack of sincerity while doing so.
  • You didn't build that – A portion of a statement that Obama made in a July 2012 campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia. Obama was explaining how businesses depend on government-provided infrastructure to succeed, but many critics of his remarks claimed that he was underplaying the work of entrepreneurs and giving the government credit for individuals' success. The Romney campaign immediately jumped on the statement in an effort to drive a wedge between Obama and small business owners. A major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention was "We Built It".
  • 47 percent – An expression Romney used at a private campaign fundraising event, which was secretly recorded and publicly released. At the private event, Romney said that 47 percent of the people would vote for Barack Obama no matter what Romney said or did because those people "...are dependent upon government... I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives".
  • Binders full of women – A phrase that Romney used in the second presidential debate to refer to the long list of female candidates that he considered when choosing his cabinet members as Governor of Massachusetts.
  • Romnesia – A term coined by a blogger in April 2011 and used by Obama late in the campaign to describe Romney's alleged inability to take responsibility for his past statements.[103][104]

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.[105]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Barack Obama Democratic Illinois 65,915,796 51.06% 332 Joe Biden Delaware 332
Mitt Romney Republican Massachusetts 60,933,500 47.20% 206 Paul Ryan Wisconsin 206
Gary Johnson Libertarian New Mexico 1,275,971 0.99% 0 James P. Gray California 0
Jill Stein Green Massachusetts 469,628 0.36% 0 Cheri Honkala Pennsylvania 0
Virgil Goode Constitution Virginia 122,388 0.09% 0 Jim Clymer Pennsylvania 0
Roseanne Barr Peace and Freedom Hawaii 67,326 0.05% 0 Cindy Sheehan California 0
Rocky Anderson Justice Utah 43,018 0.03% 0 Luis J. Rodriguez California 0
Tom Hoefling America's Iowa 40,628 0.03% 0 Jonathan D. Ellis Tennessee 0
Other 217,148 0.17% Other
Total 129,085,403 100% 538 538
Needed to win 270 270
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
Barack Obama
Democratic
Mitt Romney
Republican
Gary Johnson
Libertarian
Jill Stein
Green
Others Margin State Total
State electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % #
Alabama 9 795,696 38.36% - 1,255,925 60.55% 9 12,328 0.59% - 3,397 0.16% - 6,992 0.34% - -460,229 -22.19% 2,074,338 AL
Alaska 3 122,640 40.81% - 164,676 54.80% 3 7,392 2.46% - 2,917 0.97% - 2,870 0.96% - -42,036 -13.99% 300,495 AK
Arizona 11 1,025,232 44.59% - 1,233,654 53.65% 11 32,100 1.40% - 7,816 0.34% - 452 0.02% - -208,422 -9.06% 2,299,254 AZ
Arkansas 6 394,409 36.88% - 647,744 60.57% 6 16,276 1.52% - 9,305 0.87% - 1,734 0.16% - -253,335 -23.69% 1,069,468 AR
California 55 7,854,285 60.24% 55 4,839,958 37.12% - 143,221 1.10% - 85,638 0.66% - 115,445 0.89% - 3,014,327 23.12% 13,038,547 CA
Colorado 9 1,323,101 51.49% 9 1,185,243 46.13% - 35,545 1.38% - 7,508 0.29% - 18,123 0.71% - 137,858 5.37% 2,569,520 CO
Connecticut 7 905,083 58.06% 7 634,892 40.73% - 12,580 0.81% - 863 0.06% - 5,542 0.36% - 270,191 17.33% 1,558,960 CT
Delaware 3 242,584 58.61% 3 165,484 39.98% - 3,882 0.94% - 1,940 0.47% - 31 0.01% - 77,100 18.63% 413,921 DE
District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia 3 267,070 90.91% 3 21,381 7.28% - 2,083 0.71% - 2,458 0.84% - 772 0.26% - 245,689 83.63% 293,764 DC
Florida 29 4,237,756 50.01% 29 4,163,447 49.13% - 44,726 0.53% - 8,947 0.11% - 19,303 0.23% - 74,309 0.88% 8,474,179 FL
Georgia 16 1,773,827 45.48% - 2,078,688 53.30% 16 45,324 1.16% - 1,516 0.04% - 695 0.02% - -304,861 -7.82% 3,900,050 GA
Hawaii 4 306,658 70.55% 4 121,015 27.84% - 3,840 0.88% - 3,184 0.73% - 0 0.00% - 185,643 42.71% 434,697 HI
Idaho 4 212,787 32.62% - 420,911 64.53% 4 9,453 1.45% - 4,402 0.67% - 4,721 0.72% - -208,124 -31.91% 652,274 ID
Illinois 20 3,019,512 57.60% 20 2,135,216 40.73% - 56,229 1.07% - 30,222 0.58% - 835 0.02% - 884,296 16.87% 5,242,014 IL
Indiana 11 1,152,887 43.93% - 1,420,543 54.13% 11 50,111 1.91% - 625 0.02% - 368 0.01% - -267,656 -10.20% 2,624,534 IN
Iowa 6 822,544 51.99% 6 730,617 46.18% - 12,926 0.82% - 3,769 0.24% - 12,324 0.78% - 91,927 5.81% 1,582,180 IA
Kansas 6 440,726 37.99% - 692,634 59.71% 6 20,456 1.76% - 714 0.06% - 5,441 0.47% - -251,908 -21.72% 1,159,971 KS
Kentucky 8 679,370 37.80% - 1,087,190 60.49% 8 17,063 0.95% - 6,337 0.35% - 7,252 0.40% - -407,820 -22.69% 1,797,212 KY
Louisiana 8 809,141 40.58% - 1,152,262 57.78% 8 18,157 0.91% - 6,978 0.35% - 7,527 0.38% - -343,121 -17.21% 1,994,065 LA
Maine 4 401,306 56.27% 4 292,276 40.98% - 9,352 1.31% - 8,119 1.14% - 2,127 0.30% - 109,030 15.29% 713,180 ME
Maryland 10 1,677,844 61.97% 10 971,869 35.90% - 30,195 1.12% - 17,110 0.63% - 10,309 0.38% - 705,975 26.08% 2,707,327 MD
Massachusetts 11 1,921,290 60.65% 11 1,188,314 37.51% - 30,920 0.98% - 20,691 0.65% - 6,552 0.21% - 732,976 23.14% 3,167,767 MA
Michigan 16 2,564,569 54.21% 16 2,115,256 44.71% - 7,774 0.16% - 21,897 0.46% - 21,465 0.45% - 449,313 9.50% 4,730,961 MI
Minnesota 10 1,546,167 52.65% 10 1,320,225 44.96% - 35,098 1.20% - 13,023 0.44% - 22,048 0.75% - 225,942 7.69% 2,936,561 MN
Mississippi 6 562,949 43.79% - 710,746 55.29% 6 6,676 0.52% - 1,588 0.12% - 3,625 0.28% - −147,797 −11.50% 1,285,584 MS
Missouri 10 1,223,796 44.38% - 1,482,440 53.76% 10 43,151 1.56% - 0 0.00% - 7,936 0.29% - −258,644 −9.38% 2,757,323 MO
Montana 3 201,839 41.70% - 267,928 55.35% 3 14,165 2.93% - 0 0.00% - 116 0.02% - −66,089 −13.65% 484,048 MT
Nebraska 5 302,081 38.03% - 475,064 59.80% 5 11,109 1.40% - 0 0.00% - 6,125 0.77% - −172,983 −21.78% 794,379 NE
Nevada 6 531,373 52.36% 6 463,567 45.68% - 10,968 1.08% - 0 0.00% - 9,010 0.89% - 67,806 6.68% 1,014,918 NV
New Hampshire 4 369,561 51.98% 4 329,918 46.40% - 8,212 1.16% - 324 0.05% - 2,957 0.42% - 39,643 5.58% 710,972 NH
New Jersey[106] 14 2,125,101 58.38% 14 1,477,568 40.59% - 21,045 0.58% - 9,888 0.27% - 6,690 0.18% - 647,533 17.81% 3,640,292 NJ
New Mexico 5 415,335 52.99% 5 335,788 42.84% - 27,788 3.55% - 2,691 0.34% - 2,156 0.28% - 79,547 10.15% 783,758 NM
New York[107] 29 4,485,741 63.35% 29 2,490,431 35.17% - 47,256 0.67% - 39,982 0.56% - 17,749 0.25% - 1,995,310 28.18% 7,081,159 NY
North Carolina 15 2,178,391 48.35% - 2,270,395 50.39% 15 44,515 0.99% - 0 0.00% - 12,071 0.27% - −92,004 −2.04% 4,505,372 NC
North Dakota 3 124,827 38.69% - 188,163 58.32% 3 5,231 1.62% - 1,361 0.42% - 3,045 0.94% - −63,336 −19.63% 322,627 ND
Ohio[108] 18 2,827,710 50.67% 18 2,661,433 47.69% - 49,493 0.89% - 18,574 0.33% - 23,630 0.42% - 166,277 2.98% 5,580,840 OH
Oklahoma 7 443,547 33.23% - 891,325 66.77% 7 0 0.00% - 0 0.00% - 0 0.00% - −447,778 −33.54% 1,334,872 OK
Oregon 7 970,488 54.24% 7 754,175 42.15% - 24,089 1.35% - 19,427 1.09% - 21,091 1.18% - 216,313 12.09% 1,789,270 OR
Pennsylvania 20 2,990,274 51.97% 20 2,680,434 46.59% - 49,991 0.87% - 21,341 0.37% - 11,630 0.20% - 309,840 5.39% 5,753,670 PA
Rhode Island 4 279,677 62.70% 4 157,204 35.24% - 4,388 0.98% - 2,421 0.54% - 2,359 0.53% - 122,473 27.46% 446,049 RI
South Carolina 9 865,941 44.09% - 1,071,645 54.56% 9 16,321 0.83% - 5,446 0.28% - 4,765 0.24% - −205,704 −10.47% 1,964,118 SC
South Dakota 3 145,039 39.87% - 210,610 57.89% 3 5,795 1.59% - 0 0.00% - 2,371 0.65% - −65,571 −18.02% 363,815 SD
Tennessee 11 960,709 39.08% - 1,462,330 59.48% 11 18,623 0.76% - 6,515 0.26% - 10,400 0.42% - −501,621 −20.40% 2,458,577 TN
Texas 38 3,308,124 41.38% - 4,569,843 57.17% 38 88,580 1.11% - 24,657 0.31% - 2,647 0.03% - −1,261,719 −15.78% 7,993,851 TX
Utah 6 251,813 24.75% - 740,600 72.79% 6 12,572 1.24% - 3,817 0.38% - 8,638 0.85% - −488,787 −48.04% 1,017,440 UT
Vermont 3 199,239 66.57% 3 92,698 30.97% - 3,487 1.17% - 594 0.20% - 3,272 1.09% - 106,541 35.60% 299,290 VT
Virginia 13 1,971,820 51.16% 13 1,822,522 47.28% - 31,216 0.81% - 8,627 0.22% - 20,304 0.53% - 149,298 3.87% 3,854,489 VA
Washington 12 1,755,396 56.16% 12 1,290,670 41.29% - 42,202 1.35% - 20,928 0.67% - 16,320 0.52% - 464,726 14.87% 3,125,516 WA
West Virginia 5 238,269 35.54% - 417,655 62.30% 5 6,302 0.94% - 4,406 0.66% - 3,806 0.57% - −179,386 −26.76% 670,438 WV
Wisconsin[109] 10 1,620,985 52.83% 10 1,407,966 45.89% - 20,439 0.67% - 7,665 0.25% - 11,379 0.37% - 213,019 6.94% 3,068,434 WI
Wyoming 3 69,286 27.82% - 170,962 68.64% 3 5,326 2.14% - 0 0.00% - 3,487 1.40% - −101,676 −40.82% 249,061 WY
U.S. Total 538 65,915,796 51.06% 332 60,933,500 47.20% 206 1,275,971 0.99% - 469,628 0.36% - 490,508 0.38% - 4,982,296 3.86% 129,085,403 US

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.[110][111]

District Obama % Romney % Johnson % Stein % Terry % Total
Maine's 1st congressional district 223,035 59.57% 142,937 38.18% 4,501 1.20% 3,946 1.05% 0 0.00% 383,130
Maine's 2nd congressional district 177,998 52.94% 149,215 44.38% 4,843 1.44% 4,170 1.24% 0 0.00% 336,226
Nebraska's 1st congressional district 108,082 40.83% 152,021 57.43% 3,847 1.45% 0 0.00% 762 0.29% 264,712
Nebraska's 2nd congressional district 121,889 45.70% 140,976 52.85% 3,393 1.27% 0 0.00% 469 0.18% 266,727
Nebraska's 3rd congressional district 72,110 27.82% 182,067 70.24% 3,869 1.49% 0 0.00% 1,177 0.45% 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.[112][113] 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.[114] 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.[115][116]

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.[117] In addition, the Romney campaign had assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.[118] 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.[119][120]

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.[121] 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 subgroup Obama Romney Other  % of
total vote
Total vote 51 47 2 100
Ideology
Liberals 86 11 3 25
Moderates 56 41 3 40
Conservatives 17 82 1 35
Party
Democrats 92 7 1 38
Republicans 6 93 1 32
Independents 45 50 5 29
Gender
Men 45 52 3 47
Women 55 44 1 53
Gender by marital status
Married men 38 60 2 29
Married women 46 53 1 31
Non-married men 56 40 4 18
Non-married women 67 31 2 23
Race
White 39 59 2 72
Black 93 6 1 13
Hispanic 71 27 2 10
Asian 73 26 1 3
Other 58 38 4 2
Religion
Protestant or other Christian 43 56 1 51
Catholic 50 48 2 25
Mormon 21 78 1 2
Jewish 69 30 1 2
Other 74 23 3 7
None 70 26 4 12
Religious service attendance
More than once a week 36 63 1 14
Once a week 41 58 1 28
A few times a month 55 44 1 13
A few times a year 56 42 2 27
Never 62 34 4 17
White evangelical or born-again Christian?
White evangelical or born-again Christian 21 78 1 26
Everyone else 60 37 3 74
Age
18–24 years old 60 36 4 11
25–29 years old 60 38 2 8
30–39 years old 55 42 3 17
40–49 years old 48 50 2 20
50–64 years old 47 52 1 28
65 and older 44 56 0 16
Sexual orientation
Gay, lesbian, or bisexual 76 22 2 5
Heterosexual 49 49 2 95
Education
Not a high school graduate 64 35 1 3
High school graduate 51 48 1 21
Some college education 49 48 3 29
College graduate 47 51 2 29
Postgraduate education 55 42 3 18
Family income
Under $30,000 63 35 2 20
$30,000–49,999 57 42 1 21
$50,000–99,999 46 52 2 31
$100,000–199,999 44 54 2 21
$200,000–249,999 47 52 1 3
Over $250,000 42 55 3 4
Region
Northeast 59 39 2 21
Midwest 51 47 2 24
South 44 54 2 34
West 54 43 3 21
Community size
Big cities (population over 500,000) 69 29 2 11
Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000) 58 40 2 21
Suburbs 48 50 2 47
Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000) 42 56 2 8
Rural areas 37 61 2 14

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,[122] and NBC News.[123] 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).[124] 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.[125] 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.[126] 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.[127] Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856.[128] Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state.[129][130] 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.[128]

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.[131]

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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  131. ^ Harrington, Gerry (November 8, 2012). "Libertarian Party buoyant; Greens hopeful". United Press International. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  132. ^ Wells, Charlie (November 6, 2012). "Empire State Building lights up to broadcast election results". New York Daily News. 

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]