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 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.
- 1 Timeline
- 2 Electoral college changes
- 3 State changes to voter registration and electoral rules
- 4 Nominations
- 5 Campaigns
- 6 Results
- 7 Voter demographics
- 8 Analysis
- 9 Maps
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
- 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 reelects 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. President Obama's and Vice President Biden's reelection 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
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.
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, Texas8 and Wisconsin9 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.1213 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.161718
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.1920
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 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).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,2324 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
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 one38), 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
- Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts4445
- Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas (ended active campaigning on May 14, 2012; no endorsement, continued to seek delegates from earlier primaries)46
- Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives from Georgia4748 (withdrew on May 2, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)49
- Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania (withdrew on April 10, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)505152
- Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana5354 (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)555657
- Jon Huntsman, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former governor of Utah (withdrew on January 16, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)5859
- Michele Bachmann, U.S. Representative from Minnesota (withdrew on January 4, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)606162
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico (withdrew on December 28, 2011, to run for the nomination of the Libertarian Party)6364
- Herman Cain, businessman from Georgia (withdrew on December 3, 2011, and endorsed Newt Gingrich, then Mitt Romney after Gingrich withdrew)6566
- Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. Representative from Michigan (withdrew on September 22, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)6768
- Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota (withdrew on August 14, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)6970
- Gary Johnson – Former Governor of New Mexico
- R. Lee Wrights – Former Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Committee
- Jim Burns - Political Activist
- Carl Person - Attorney-of-Law
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. Johnson and Gray received 1,275,951 votes (0.99% of the National Popular vote), the most garnered by the Libertarian Party in any presidential election up to that point; however, Ed Clark in 1980 did attain a higher percentage of the vote than Johnson did (1.06%).
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2014)|
- Jill Stein, Massachusetts physician and chair of the Green-Rainbow Party
- Roseanne Barr, comedian, actor, liberal activist, and former sitcom, cooking show, and talk show host of Hawaii.
- Kent Mesplay, California Delegate to the Green National Committee
- Harley Mikkelson, multiple time candidate for office with the Green Party of Michigan
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. Stein and Honkala received 469,583 votes (0.36% of the National Popular vote).
- Virgil Goode – Former Congressman from Virginia
- Darrell Castle – Attorney and 2008 Vice Presidential Nominee from Tennessee
- Robby Wells - College Football Coach from Georgia
- Susan Ducey - Nurse and Political Activist from Kansas
- Laurie Roth - Radio Talk Show host and Political Commentator from Washington
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. Goode and Clymer received 122,001 votes (0.09% of the National Popular vote).
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. Anderson and Rodriguez received 43,011 votes (0.03% of the National Popular vote).
|Presidential ticket||Party||Ballot access71||% 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.
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
- April 18–21, 2012: 2012 Constitution Party National Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee;76 Virgil Goode won the nomination.
- May 3–6, 2012: 2012 Libertarian National Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada;77 Gary Johnson won the nomination.78
- July 13–15, 2012: 2012 Green National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland;79 Jill Stein won the nomination.80
- August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida;81 Mitt Romney won the nomination.
- September 3–6, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina;82 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,83 moderated by Jim Lehrer.84
- Thursday, October 11: The vice-presidential debate took place at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky,83 moderated by Martha Raddatz.84
- Tuesday, October 16: The second presidential debate took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York,83 moderated by Candy Crowley.84 It had a town hall format.85
- Monday, October 22: The third presidential debate took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida,83 moderated by Bob Schieffer.84
An independent presidential debate featuring minor party candidates took place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.8687 The debate was moderated by Larry King88 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).8788 A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Monday, November 5 in Washington, D.C.8990 It was hosted by RT91 and moderated by Thom Hartmann and Christina Tobin.
- 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.929394 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.9596
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral
|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|
|Needed to win||270||270|
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|
|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 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.102103
|Maine's 1st congressional district||223,035||59.57%||142,937||38.18%||4,501||1.20%||3,946||1.05%||0||0.00%||1,007||0.26%||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%||1,014||0.30%||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%||0||0.00%||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%||0||0.00%||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%||0||0.00%||259,223|
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%
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.104105 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.107108
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.111112
Foreign leaders reacted with both positive and mixed messages. Most world leaders congratulated and praised Barack Obama on his reelection 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 reelection, 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.
|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,114 and NBC News.115 Total vote and results by region are based on the "Votes by state" section of this article.
Combined with the reelections 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 reelections 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.121122 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.
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.
- United States Senate elections, 2012
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- 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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- 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, eds. The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election (Princeton U.P. 2013) excerpt and text search
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