United States presidential election, 2012
|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.|
|2012 U.S. presidential election|
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 Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Although most major media outlets insisted before the election that the race was too close to predict a winner in advance, analysts using statistical models, bookmakers, and betting markets had Obama as a clear favorite. At around 11:15 PM EST on Election Day, most major television networks called Ohio for Obama, projecting him the winner of the election. At around 1:00 AM EST on November 7, Romney conceded the election to Obama. By November 10, the electoral outcomes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia had been definitively projected (the electoral outcome in Florida remained uncertain until November 10). Obama won 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206 and carried all the states and districts (among states that allocate electoral votes by district) that he had won in the 2008 election except North Carolina, Indiana, and Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.
Electoral college changes 
States won by Republicans
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 
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (December 2012)|
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, 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, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin 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. 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". 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. 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. The Obama campaign fought against the Ohio law, pushing for a petition and statewide referendum to repeal it in time for the 2012 election.
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. 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.
Democratic Party 
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 clinch the nomination.
Republican Party 
Candidates with considerable name recognition who entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the early stages of the primary campaign included Congressman and former Libertarian nominee Ron Paul, former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who co-chaired John McCain's campaign in 2008, former 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). 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.
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 tastes. As a result, a number of potential "anti-Romney" candidates were put forward, including Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Texas Governor Rick Perry, 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. At around the same time, Johnson, who had been able to get into only one other debate, withdrew in order to seek the Libertarian Party nomination.
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). Although Romney had been expected to win in at least Iowa and New Hampshire, Rick Santorum won Iowa by 34 votes, Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a surprisingly large margin, and Romney won only in New Hampshire.
A number of candidates dropped out at this point in the nomination process. Bachmann withdrew after finishing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina.
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. 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. 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. After disappointing results in the April 24 primaries (finishing second in one state, third in two, and fourth in two), Gingrich dropped out on May 2 in a move that was seen as an effective end to the nomination contest. After Gingrich's spokesman announced his upcoming withdrawal, the Republican National Committee declared Romney the party's presumptive nominee. Ron Paul officially remained in the race, but he stopped campaigning on May 14 in order to focus on state conventions instead.
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.
On August 28, 2012, delegates at the Republican National Convention officially named Romney the party's presidential nominee. Romney formally accepted the delegates' nomination on August 30, 2012.
- Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts
- Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas (ended active campaigning on May 14, 2012; no endorsement, continued to seek delegates from earlier primaries)
- Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives from Georgia (withdrew on May 2, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania (withdrew on April 10, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana (withdrew on February 22, 2012, to run for the nominations of Americans Elect and the Reform Party, then endorsed Gary Johnson)
- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas (withdrew on January 19, 2012, and endorsed Newt Gingrich, then Mitt Romney after Gingrich withdrew)
- Jon Huntsman, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former governor of Utah (withdrew on January 16, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Michele Bachmann, U.S. Representative from Minnesota (withdrew on January 4, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico (withdrew on December 28, 2011, to run for the nomination of the Libertarian Party)
- Herman Cain, businessman from Georgia (withdrew on December 3, 2011, and endorsed Newt Gingrich, then Mitt Romney after Gingrich withdrew)
- Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. Representative from Michigan (withdrew on September 22, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota (withdrew on August 14, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
Third parties 
Four other parties nominated candidates that had ballot access or write-in access to at least 270 electoral votes, which is the minimum number of votes needed to win the presidency through a majority of the electoral college.
Write-in states that were confirmed to have full elector slates, and included in the final ballot count, appear in bold.
Libertarian Party 
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico; vice-presidential nominee: Jim Gray, retired state court judge, from California
- Candidate Ballot Access: The Johnson/Gray ticket was on all state ballots except in Michigan and Oklahoma where its ballot access was challenged. (515 electoral votes)
- Write-In Candidate Access: Michigan – (16 electoral votes)
- Total: 531 possible electoral votes
Green Party 
- Jill Stein, medical doctor from Massachusetts; vice-presidential nominee: Cheri Honkala, social organizer, from Pennsylvania.
- Candidate Ballot Access: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin – (447 electoral votes)
- Write-In Candidate Access: Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming – (11 electoral votes)
- Total: 458 possible electoral votes
Constitution Party 
- Virgil Goode, former U.S. congressman, from Virginia; vice-presidential nominee: Jim Clymer from Pennsylvania
- Candidate Ballot Access: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming – (257 electoral votes)
- Write-In Candidate Access: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia – (133 electoral votes)
- Total: 390 possible electoral votes
Justice Party 
- Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City and founding member of the Justice Party, from Utah; vice-presidential nominee: Luis J. Rodriguez from California.
- Candidate Ballot Access: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington – (145 electoral votes)
- Write-In Candidate Access: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming – (160 electoral votes)
- Total: 305 possible electoral votes
Financing and advertising 
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. Super PACs constituted nearly one fourth of the total financing, with most of the total coming from pro-Romney PACs. Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008. 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.
Party conventions 
- April 18–21, 2012: 2012 Constitution Party National Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee; Virgil Goode won the nomination.
- May 3–6, 2012: 2012 Libertarian National Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada; Gary Johnson won the nomination.
- July 13–15, 2012: 2012 Green National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland; Jill Stein won the nomination.
- August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida; Mitt Romney won the nomination.
- September 3–6, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina; Barack Obama won the nomination.
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.
- Wednesday, October 3: The first presidential debate took place at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, moderated by Jim Lehrer.
- Thursday, October 11: The vice-presidential debate took place at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, moderated by Martha Raddatz.
- Tuesday, October 16: The second presidential debate took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, moderated by Candy Crowley. It had a town hall format.
- Monday, October 22: The third presidential debate took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, moderated by Bob Schieffer.
An independent presidential debate featuring minor party candidates took place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The debate was moderated by Larry King and organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice). A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Monday, November 5 in Washington, D.C. It was hosted by RT and moderated by Thom Hartmann and Christina Tobin.
Notable expressions, phrases, and statements 
- 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. 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.
- If you've got a business, you didn't build that – 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."
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
- 47 percent – On September 17, a secretly recorded video shot by Scott Prouty was released that showed Romney speaking to donors at a private fundraiser. In the video, Romney stated:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That's an entitlement. The government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49...he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. ... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5–10% in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not."
- Binders full of women – An awkward 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 inability to take responsibility for his past statements.
- September–October 2012 – Early voting began in some states and continued as late as November 5.
- November 6, 2012 – Election Day; at around 11:15 PM EST, the networks called Ohio for Obama, projecting him the winner of the election.
- November 7, 2012 – Romney conceded the election to Obama at around 1:00 AM EST.
- November 10, 2012 – The electoral outcomes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia had 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-elected President Obama and Vice President Biden.
- January 3, 2013 – The 113th Congress was sworn in.
- January 4, 2013 – Electoral votes were formally counted before a joint session of Congress. President Obama's and Vice President Biden's re-election was certified.
- January 20, 2013 – President Obama and Vice President Biden took the oaths of office; Obama's second presidential term began at noon.
- January 21, 2013 – The inauguration ceremonies were held.
The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 4, 2013.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote|
|Barack Obama||Democratic||Illinois||65,910,437||51.07%||332||Joe Biden||Delaware||332|
|Mitt Romney||Republican||Massachusetts||60,932,795||47.21%||206||Paul Ryan||Wisconsin||206|
|Gary Johnson||Libertarian||New Mexico||1,275,951||0.99%||0||James P. Gray||California||0|
|Jill Stein||Green||Massachusetts||469,583||0.36%||0||Cheri Honkala||Pennsylvania||0|
|Virgil Goode||Constitution||Virginia||122,001||0.09%||0||Jim Clymer||Pennsylvania||0|
|Roseanne Barr||Peace and Freedom||Hawaii||67,278||0.05%||0||Cindy Sheehan||California||0|
|Rocky Anderson||Justice||Utah||43,011||0.03%||0||Luis J. Rodriguez||California||0|
|Tom Hoefling||America's||Iowa||40,586||0.03%||0||Jonathan D. Ellis||Tennessee||0|
|Needed to win||270||270|
Votes by states 
The table below displays the official vote tallies by state. The source for the results of all states, except those which 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|
|District of Columbia||3||267,070||90.91%||21,381||7.28%||2,083||0.71%||2,458||0.84%||772||0.26%||245,689||83.63%||293,764|
Maine and Nebraska district results 
★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.
|Maine's 1st congressional district||223,035||59.57%||142,937||38.18%||4,501||1.20%||3,946||1.05%||0||0.00%||80,098||21.39%||374,419|
|Maine's 2nd congressional district||177,998||52.94%||149,215||44.38%||4,843||1.44%||4,170||1.24%||0||0.00%||28,783||8.56%||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%||−43,939||−16.60%||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%||−19,087||−7.16%||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%||−109,957||−42.42%||259,223|
Close races 
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):
- Florida, 0.88%
- North Carolina, 2.04%
- Ohio, 2.98%
- Virginia, 3.87%
States/districts where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (119 electoral votes):
- Colorado, 5.37%
- Pennsylvania, 5.39%
- New Hampshire, 5.58%
- Iowa, 5.81%
- Nevada, 6.68%
- Wisconsin, 6.94%
- Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 7.16%
- Minnesota, 7.69%
- Georgia, 7.82%
- Maine's 2nd Congressional District, 8.56%
- Arizona, 9.06%
- Missouri, 9.38%
- Michigan, 9.50%
Romney's concession 
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 at first reluctant to concede the race, as many counties in Ohio were still outstanding. However, after Colorado was called for the President, in tandem with Obama's apparent lead in Florida, 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 most crucial swing states, such as Ohio, the Romney campaign said they were genuinely surprised by the loss, having believed that public polling was oversampling Democrats. 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.
On November 30, 2012, it was revealed that shortly before the election, internal polling done by the Romney campaign showed Romney ahead in Colorado and New Hampshire, tied in Iowa, and within a few points of Obama in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio. In addition, the Romney campaign assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. 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.
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. 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 
|2012 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup|
|Demographic subgroup||Obama||Romney||Other|| % of
|Gender by marital status|
|Protestant or other Christian||43||56||1||51|
|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|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian?|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian||21||78||1||26|
|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|
|Gay, lesbian, or bisexual||76||22||2||5|
|Not a high school graduate||64||35||1||3|
|High school graduate||51||48||1||21|
|Some college education||49||48||3||29|
|Big cities (population over 500,000)||69||29||2||11|
|Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000)||58||40||2||21|
|Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000)||42||56||2||8|
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, and NBC News. Total vote and results by region are based on the "Votes by state" section of this article.
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 achieved re-election (the first time being the consecutive two-term presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe).
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. 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.
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. Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856. Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state. 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.
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.
Change in popular vote margins at the county level from the 2008 election to the 2012 election. Blue denotes counties that voted more Democratic. Red denotes counties that voted more Republican. Romney's strongest improvements over McCain were in Utah and Appalachia, while Obama's strongest gains were in Alaska, the New York area, and the Gulf states.
Treemap of the popular vote by county, state, and locally predominant recipient.
The Obamas and the Bidens walk on stage at the election night victory celebration at McCormick Place in Chicago.
See also 
- United States Senate elections, 2012
- United States House elections, 2012
- United States gubernatorial elections, 2012
- United States third party and independent presidential candidates, 2012
- Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012
- Statewide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012
- United States presidential election, 2012 timeline
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Further reading 
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- 2012 Presidential Form 2 Filers at the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
- Election 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions
- United States presidential election, 2012 at the Open Directory Project
- 2012 Interactive Electoral Map