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2012 United States presidential election
For related races, see 2012 United States elections.
"Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney" redirects here. For the video, see Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney (video).
The 2012 United States presidential election was the 57th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his running mate, incumbent Vice President Joe Biden, were re-elected to a second term. They defeated the Republican ticket of businessman and former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
2012 United States presidential election
← 2008November 6, 20122016 →
538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Opinion polls
Turnout54.9%[1] 3.3 pp
 
NomineeBarack ObamaMitt Romney
PartyDemocraticRepublican
Home stateIllinoisMassachusetts
Running mateJoe BidenPaul Ryan
Electoral vote332206
States carried26 + DC24
Popular vote65,915,795[1]60,933,504[1]
Percentage51.1%47.2%
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Obama/Biden and red denotes those won by Romney/Ryan. Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state and the District of Columbia.
President before election
Elected President
As the incumbent president, Obama secured the Democratic nomination without serious opposition. The Republicans experienced a competitive primary. Romney was consistently competitive in the polls and won the support of many party leaders, but he faced challenges from a number of more conservative contenders. Romney secured his party's nomination in May, defeating former Senator Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Texas congressman Ron Paul, among other candidates. Donald Trump speculated about running but ultimately decided against it.
The campaigns focused heavily on domestic issues, and debate centered largely around sound responses to the Great Recession. Other issues included long-term federal budget issues, the future of social insurance programs, and the Affordable Care Act, Obama's marquee legislative program. Foreign policy was also discussed, including the phase-out of the Iraq War, military spending, the Iranian nuclear program, and appropriate counteractions to terrorism. The campaign was marked by a sharp rise in fundraising, including from nominally independent Super PACs.
Obama defeated Romney, winning a majority of both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Obama won 332 electoral votes and 51.1% of the popular vote compared to Romney's 206 electoral votes and 47.2%. Obama was the first incumbent since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 to win reelection with fewer electoral votes and a smaller popular vote margin than had been won in the previous election, and was also the first two-term president since Ronald Reagan to win both his presidential bids with a majority of the nationwide popular vote (50% or more), and the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was also the first presidential election since 1944 in which neither candidate had military experience.
Obama did not hold onto Indiana, North Carolina, or Nebraska's 2nd congressional district, but crucially won all 18 "blue wall" states and defeated Romney in other swing states the Republicans had won in 2000 and 2004, most notably Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Ultimately, of the nine swing states identified by The Washington Post in the 2012 election, Obama won eight, losing only North Carolina. As of 2021, this is the most recent presidential election in which an incumbent president was re-elected to a second term. This is also the most recent presidential election when the Democratic candidate won the states of Iowa, Ohio, and Florida, along with Maine's 2nd congressional district.
All four major candidates for president and vice president went on to hold significant public office after this election. Obama served his second term as president and was succeeded by Donald Trump in 2016. Biden also served his second term as vice president and was succeeded by Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, but was elected president by defeating Trump four years later in 2020. Romney initially retired from politics and moved to Utah in 2014 but was later elected to the Senate there in 2018, succeeding Orrin Hatch, while Ryan served three more terms in the House and eventually became Speaker from 2015 until his retirement from politics in 2019.
This was the first election in which a major party nominee lost his home state since Al Gore lost Tennessee in 2000, as Mitt Romney lost his home state of Massachusetts.
State changes to voter registration and electoral rules
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,[2] 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,[3] Tennessee, Texas,[4] and Wisconsin[5] 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.[6] 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".[7] He was referring to Jim Crow laws passed in southern states near the turn of the twentieth century that disenfranchised most blacks from voting and excluded them from the political process for more than six decades. Clinton said the moves would effectively disenfranchise core voter blocs that trend liberal, including college students, Blacks, and Latinos.[8][9] Rolling Stone magazine criticized the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for lobbying in states to bring about these laws, to "solve" a problem that does not exist.[6] The Obama campaign fought against the Ohio law, pushing for a petition and statewide referendum to repeal it in time for the 2012 election.[10]
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.[11] 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.[12][13][14] Ultimately they did not do it, leaving their winner take all format intact as of 2020.
Nominations
Democratic Party nomination
Main article: 2012 Democratic Party presidential primaries
Primaries
With no 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, 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.[15][16]
Candidate
Main article: 2012 Democratic Party presidential candidates

2012 Democratic Party ticket
Barack ObamaJoe Biden
for Presidentfor Vice President
44th
President of the United States
(2009–2017)
47th
Vice President of the United States
(2009–2017)
Campaign
Republican Party nomination
Main article: 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries
Primaries
Candidates with considerable name recognition who entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the early stages of the primary campaign included U.S. 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 Minnesota Congresswoman 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).[17] 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.[18]
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,[19][20] including future President Donald Trump,[21] former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin,[22] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie,[23] and Texas Governor Rick Perry,[24] 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.[25] Around the same time, Johnson, who had been able to get into only one other debate, withdrew to seek the Libertarian Party nomination.[26]
For the first time in modern Republican Party history, three different candidates won the first three state contests in January (the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and the South Carolina primary).[27] Although Romney had been expected to win in at least Iowa and New Hampshire, Rick Santorum won the non-binding poll at caucus sites in Iowa by 34 votes, as near as can be determined from the incomplete tally, earning him a declaration as winner by state party leaders, although vote totals were missing from eight precincts.[28][29] The election of county delegates at the caucuses would eventually lead to Ron Paul earning 22 of the 28 Iowa delegates to the Republican National Convention.[30] Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a surprisingly large margin,[31] 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,[32] Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina.[33]
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 there. 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] After disappointing results in the April 24 primaries (finishing second in one state, third in three, and fourth in one), Gingrich dropped out on May 2 in a move that was seen as an effective end to the nomination contest.[37] After Gingrich's spokesman announced his upcoming withdrawal, the Republican National Committee declared Romney the party's presumptive nominee.[38] 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.[39]
On August 28, 2012, delegates at the Republican National Convention officially named Romney the party's presidential nominee.[40] Romney formally accepted the delegates' nomination on August 30, 2012.[41]
Candidate

2012 Republican Party ticket
Mitt RomneyPaul Ryan
for Presidentfor Vice President
70th
Governor of Massachusetts
(2003–2007)
U.S. representative
from Wisconsin
(1999–2019)
Campaign
[42][43]
Withdrawn candidates
Main article: 2012 Republican Party presidential candidates
Candidates in this section are sorted by reverse date of withdrawal from the primaries
Ron PaulNewt GingrichRick SantorumBuddy RoemerRick PerryJon Huntsman Jr.
U.S. Representative
from Texas
(1997–2013)
50th
Speaker
of the United States
House of Representatives
(1995–1999)
U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania  
(1995–2007)
52nd
Governor of
Louisiana
(1988–1992)
47th
Governor of
Texas
(2000–2015)
U.S. Ambassador
to China
(2009-2011)

CampaignCampaignCampaignCampaignCampaignCampaign
W: N/A
2,017,957 votes
W: May 2
2,737,442 votes
W: April 10
3,816,110 votes
W: Feb 22
33,212 votes
W: Jan 19
42,251 votes
W: Jan 16
83,173 votes
[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55]
Michele BachmannGary JohnsonHerman CainThaddeus​McCotterTim PawlentyFred Karger
U.S. Representative
from Minnesota
(2007–2013)
29th
Governor of
New Mexico
(1995–2003)
Chair of the
Federal Reserve
Bank of Kansas City
(1995–1996)
U.S. Representative
from Michigan
(2002–2012)
39th
Governor of
Minnesota
(2003–2011)
Political
Consultant
CampaignCampaignCampaignCampaignCampaignCampaign
W: Jan 4
35,089 votes
W: Dec 28, 2011
4,286 votes
W: Dec 3, 2011
13,538 votes
W: Sep 22, 2011
0 votes
W: Aug 14, 2011
0 votes
W: June 29, 2012
12,776 votes
[56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]
Third party and other nominations
Main article: Third-party and independent candidates for the 2012 United States presidential election
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
Main articles: Libertarian Party (United States), 2012 Libertarian National Convention, and Gary Johnson 2012 presidential campaign
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico.[68] Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Gray, retired state court judge, from California[69]
Green Party
Main articles: Green Party of the United States, 2012 Green National Convention, and Jill Stein 2012 presidential campaign
Jill Stein, medical doctor from Massachusetts.[70][71] Vice-presidential nominee: Cheri Honkala, social organizer, from Pennsylvania.[72]
Constitution Party
Main articles: Constitution Party (United States), 2012 Constitution Party National Convention, and Virgil Goode 2012 presidential campaign
Virgil Goode, former Representative from Virginia.[73] Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Clymer from Pennsylvania[74]
Justice Party
Main articles: Justice Party (United States) and Rocky Anderson
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.[75][76]
Candidates gallery
Campaigns
See also: Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign, Gary Johnson 2012 presidential campaign, Jill Stein 2012 presidential campaign, and Virgil Goode 2012 presidential campaign
Ballot access
Presidential ticketPartyBallot access[77]VotesPercentage
StatesElectors% of voters
Obama / BidenDemocratic50 + DC538100%65,915,79551.06%
Romney / RyanRepublican50 + DC538100%60,933,50447.20%
Johnson / GrayLibertarian48 + DC51595.1%1,275,9710.99%
Stein / HonkalaGreen36 + DC43683.1%469,6270.36%
Goode / ClymerConstitution2625749.9%122,3880.09%
Anderson / RodriguezJustice1514528.1%43,0180.03%
Lindsay / OsorioSocialism & Liberation1311528.6%7,7910.006%
Candidates in bold were on ballots representing 270 electoral votes.
All other candidates were on the ballots of fewer than 10 states, 100 electors, and less than 20% of voters nationwide.
Financing and advertising
The United States presidential election of 2012 broke new records in financing, fundraising, and negative campaigning. Through grassroots campaign contributions, online donations, and Super PACs, Obama and Romney raised a combined total of more than $2 billion.[78] Super PACs constituted nearly one-fourth of the total financing, with most coming from pro-Romney PACs.[79] Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008.[80] Most of the advertising in the 2012 presidential campaign was decidedly negative—80% of Obama's ads and 84% of Romney's ads were negative.[81] The tax-exempt non-profit Americans for Prosperity, a so-called "outside group", that is, a political advocacy group that is not a political action committee or super-PAC, ran a television advertising campaign opposing Obama described by The Washington Post as "early and relentless".[82][83] Americans for Prosperity spent $8.4 million in swing states on television advertisements denouncing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 loan guarantee to Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels that went bankrupt,[84] an advertising campaign described by The Wall Street Journal in November 2011 as "perhaps the biggest attack on Mr. Obama so far".[85][86]
Party conventions
Charlotte
Baltimore
Tampa
Nashville
Las Vegas
Sites of the 2012 national party conventions.
Presidential debates
Main article: 2012 United States presidential debates
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:[93][94]
Debates among candidates for the 2012 U.S. presidential election
No.DateHostCityModeratorParticipants
Viewership
(million)
P1Wednesday, October 3, 2012University of DenverDenver, ColoradoJim Lehrer67.2[95]
VPThursday, October 11, 2012Centre CollegeDanville, KentuckyMartha Raddatz51.4[95]
P2Tuesday, October 16, 2012Hofstra UniversityHempstead, New YorkCandy Crowley65.6[95]
P3Monday, October 22, 2012Lynn UniversityBoca Raton, FloridaBob Schieffer59.2[95]
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.[96][97] The debate was moderated by Larry King[98] and organized by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.[97] The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice).[97][98] A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Sunday, November 4, and was moderated by Ralph Nader.[99]
Notable expressions, phrases, and statements
Results
Electoral results
On the day of the election, spread betting firm Spreadex were offering an Obama Electoral College Votes spread of 296–300 to Romney's 239–243.[111] In reality Obama's victory over Romney was far greater, winning 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206. Romney lost all but one of nine battleground states and received 47 percent of the nationwide popular vote to Obama's 51 percent.[112][113]
Popular vote totals are from the Federal Election Commission report.[1] The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 4, 2013.[114]
Electoral results
Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPercentageVice-presidential candidateHome stateElectoral vote
Barack Hussein Obama IIDemocraticIllinois65,915,79551.06%332Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.Delaware332
Willard Mitt RomneyRepublicanMassachusetts60,933,50447.20%206Paul Davis Ryan Jr.Wisconsin206
Gary Earl JohnsonLibertarianNew Mexico1,275,9710.99%0James Polin GrayCalifornia0
Jill Ellen SteinGreenMassachusetts469,6270.36%0Cheri Lynn HonkalaMinnesota0
Virgil Hamlin Goode Jr.ConstitutionVirginia122,3890.09%0James N. ClymerPennsylvania0
Roseanne Cherrie BarrPeace and FreedomUtah67,3260.05%0Cindy Lee Miller SheehanCalifornia0
Ross Carl "Rocky" AndersonJusticeUtah43,0180.03%0Luis Javier RodriguezTexas0
Thomas Conrad HoeflingAmerica'sNebraska40,6280.03%0J.D. EllisTennessee0
Other217,1520.17%Other
Total129,085,410100%538538
Needed to win270270
President Obama casts his ballot at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.
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%
Results by state
The table below displays the official vote tallies by each state's Electoral College voting method. The source for the results of all states, except those that amended their official results, is the official Federal Election Commission report.[1] The column labeled "Margin" shows Obama's margin of victory over Romney (the margin is negative for every state that Romney won).
Legend
States/districts won by Obama/Biden
States/districts won by Romney/Ryan
At-large results (for states that split electoral votes)
Barack Obama
Democratic
Mitt Romney
Republican
Gary Johnson
Libertarian
Jill Stein
Green
OthersMarginTotal
State/District#%EV#%EV#%EV#%EV#%EV#%#

Alabama
795,69638.36%1,255,92560.55%912,3280.59%3,3970.16%6,9920.34%−460,229−22.19%2,074,338AL
Alaska
122,64040.81%164,67654.80%37,3922.46%2,9170.97%2,8700.96%−42,036−13.99%300,495AK
Arizona
1,025,23244.59%1,233,65453.65%1132,1001.40%7,8160.34%4520.02%−208,422−9.06%2,299,254AZ
Arkansas
394,40936.88%647,74460.57%616,2761.52%9,3050.87%1,7340.16%−253,335−23.69%1,069,468AR
California
7,854,28560.24%554,839,95837.12%143,2211.10%85,6380.66%115,4450.89%3,014,32723.12%13,038,547CA
Colorado
1,323,10151.49%91,185,24346.13%35,5451.38%7,5080.29%18,1210.71%137,8585.37%2,569,518CO
Connecticut
905,08358.06%7634,89240.73%12,5800.81%8630.06%5,5420.36%270,19117.33%1,558,960CT
Delaware
242,58458.61%3165,48439.98%3,8820.94%1,9400.47%310.01%77,10018.63%413,921DE
District of Columbia267,07090.91%321,3817.28%2,0830.71%2,4580.84%7720.26%245,68983.63%293,764DC
Florida
4,237,75650.01%294,163,44749.13%44,7260.53%8,9470.11%19,3030.23%74,3090.88%8,474,179FL
Georgia1,773,82745.48%2,078,68853.30%1645,3241.16%1,5160.04%6950.02%−304,861−7.82%3,900,050GA
Hawaii306,65870.55%4121,01527.84%3,8400.88%3,1840.73%185,64342.71%434,697HI
Idaho
212,78732.62%420,91164.53%49,4531.45%4,4020.67%4,7210.72%−208,124−31.91%652,274ID
Illinois3,019,51257.60%202,135,21640.73%56,2291.07%30,2220.58%8350.02%884,29616.87%5,242,014IL
Indiana
1,152,88743.93%1,420,54354.13%1150,1111.91%6250.02%3680.01%−267,656−10.20%2,624,534IN
Iowa
822,54451.99%6730,61746.18%12,9260.82%3,7690.24%12,3240.78%91,9275.81%1,582,180IA
Kansas440,72637.99%692,63459.71%620,4561.76%7140.06%5,4410.47%−251,908−21.72%1,159,971KS
Kentucky679,37037.80%1,087,19060.49%817,0630.95%6,3370.35%7,2520.40%−407,820−22.69%1,797,212KY
Louisiana
809,14140.58%1,152,26257.78%818,1570.91%6,9780.35%7,5270.38%−343,121−17.21%1,994,065LA
Maine
401,30656.27%2292,27640.98%9,3521.31%8,1191.14%2,1270.30%109,03015.29%713,180ME–AL
ME-1
223,03559.57%1142,93738.18%4,5011.20%3,9461.05%80,09821.39%374,149ME1
ME-2
177,99852.94%1149,21544.38%4,8431.44%4,1701.24%28,7838.56%336,226ME2
Maryland
1,677,84461.97%10971,86935.90%30,1951.12%17,1100.63%10,3090.38%705,97526.08%2,707,327MD
Massachusetts1,921,29060.65%111,188,31437.51%30,9200.98%20,6910.65%6,5520.21%732,97623.14%3,167,767MA
Michigan
2,564,56954.21%162,115,25644.71%7,7740.16%21,8970.46%21,4650.45%449,3139.50%4,730,961MI
Minnesota
1,546,16752.65%101,320,22544.96%35,0981.20%13,0230.44%22,0480.75%225,9427.69%2,936,561MN
Mississippi
562,94943.79%710,74655.29%66,6760.52%1,5880.12%3,6250.28%−147,797−11.50%1,285,584MS
Missouri1,223,79644.38%1,482,44053.76%1043,1511.56%7,9360.29%−258,644−9.38%2,757,323MO
Montana
201,83941.70%267,92855.35%314,1652.93%1160.02%−66,089−13.65%484,048MT
Nebraska302,08138.03%475,06459.80%511,1091.40%6,1250.77%−172,983−21.78%794,379NE–AL
NE-1108,08240.83%152,02157.43%13,8471.24%7620.29%-43,949-16.60%264,712NE1
NE-2121,88945.70%140,97652.85%13,3931.27%4690.18%-19,087-7.16%266,727NE2
NE-372,11027.82%182,06770.24%13,8691.49%1,1770.45%−109,957−42.42%259,223NE3
Nevada
531,37352.36%6463,56745.68%10,9681.08%9,0100.89%67,8066.68%1,014,918NV
New Hampshire
369,56151.98%4329,91846.40%8,2121.16%3240.05%2,9570.42%39,6435.58%710,972NH
New Jersey[115]2,125,10158.38%141,477,56840.59%21,0450.58%9,8880.27%6,6900.18%647,53317.81%3,640,292NJ
New Mexico
415,33552.99%5335,78842.84%27,7883.55%2,6910.34%2,1560.28%79,54710.15%783,758NM
New York[116]4,485,74163.35%292,490,43135.17%47,2560.67%39,9820.56%17,7490.25%1,995,31028.18%7,081,159NY
North Carolina
2,178,39148.35%2,270,39550.39%1544,5150.99%12,0710.27%−92,004−2.04%4,505,372NC
North Dakota
124,82738.69%188,16358.32%35,2311.62%1,3610.42%3,0450.94%−63,336−19.63%322,627ND
Ohio[117]
2,827,70950.67%182,661,43747.69%49,4930.89%18,5730.33%23,6350.42%166,2722.98%5,580,847OH
Oklahoma
443,54733.23%891,32566.77%7−447,778−33.54%1,334,872OK
Oregon970,48854.24%7754,17542.15%24,0891.35%19,4271.09%21,0911.18%216,31312.09%1,789,270OR
Pennsylvania
2,990,27451.97%202,680,43446.59%49,9910.87%21,3410.37%11,6300.20%309,8405.39%5,753,670PA
Rhode Island
279,67762.70%4157,20435.24%4,3880.98%2,4210.54%2,3590.53%122,47327.46%446,049RI
South Carolina
865,94144.09%1,071,64554.56%916,3210.83%5,4460.28%4,7650.24%−205,704−10.47%1,964,118SC
South Dakota145,03939.87%210,61057.89%35,7951.59%2,3710.65%−65,571−18.02%363,815SD
Tennessee960,70939.08%1,462,33059.48%1118,6230.76%6,5150.26%10,4000.42%−501,621−20.40%2,458,577TN
Texas
3,308,12441.38%4,569,84357.17%3888,5801.11%24,6570.31%2,6470.03%−1,261,719−15.78%7,993,851TX
Utah251,81324.75%740,60072.79%612,5721.24%3,8170.38%8,6380.85%−488,787−48.04%1,017,440UT
Vermont199,23966.57%392,69830.97%3,4871.17%5940.20%3,2721.09%106,54135.60%299,290VT
Virginia
1,971,82051.16%131,822,52247.28%31,2160.81%8,6270.22%20,3040.53%149,2983.87%3,854,489VA
Washington1,755,39656.16%121,290,67041.29%42,2021.35%20,9280.67%16,3200.52%464,72614.87%3,125,516WA
West Virginia238,26935.54%417,65562.30%56,3020.94%4,4060.66%3,8060.57%−179,386−26.76%670,438WV
Wisconsin[118]
1,620,98552.83%101,407,96645.89%20,4390.67%7,6650.25%11,3790.37%213,0196.94%3,068,434WI
Wyoming
69,28627.82%170,96268.64%35,3262.14%3,4871.40%−101,676−40.82%249,061WY
U.S. Total65,915,79551.06%33260,933,50447.20%2061,275,9710.99%469,6270.36%490,5100.38%4,982,2913.86%129,085,410US
Maine and Nebraska each allow for their election results votes to be split between candidates. The winner within each congressional district gets one electoral vote for the district. The winner of the statewide vote gets two additional electoral votes. 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.[119][120]
Close states
Swing from 2008 to 2012 in each state. Only six states swung 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 denotes states (or congressional districts that contribute an electoral vote) won by Republican Mitt Romney; blue denotes those won by Democrat Barack Obama.
State where the margin of victory was under 1% (29 electoral votes):
Florida, 0.88% (74,309 votes)
States where the margin of victory was under 5% (46 electoral votes):
  1. North Carolina, 2.04% (92,004 votes)
  2. Ohio, 2.98% (166,272 votes)
  3. Virginia, 3.87% (149,298 votes)
States/districts where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (120 electoral votes):
  1. Colorado, 5.37% (137,858 votes) (tipping point state)
  2. Pennsylvania, 5.39% (309,840 votes)
  3. New Hampshire, 5.58% (39,643 votes)
  4. Iowa, 5.81% (91,927 votes)
  5. Nevada, 6.68% (67,806 votes)
  6. Wisconsin, 6.94% (213,019 votes)
  7. Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 7.16% (19,087 votes)
  8. Minnesota, 7.69% (225,942 votes)
  9. Georgia, 7.82% (304,861 votes)
  10. Maine's 2nd Congressional District, 8.56% (28,783 votes)
  11. Arizona, 9.06% (208,422 votes)
  12. Missouri, 9.38% (258,644 votes)
  13. Michigan, 9.50% (449,313 votes)
Statistics
[121]
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)
  1. Shannon County, South Dakota 93.39%
  2. Kalawao County, Hawaii 92.59%
  3. Bronx County, New York 91.45%
  4. Washington, D.C. 90.91%
  5. Petersburg, Virginia 89.79%
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)
  1. King County, Texas 95.86%
  2. Madison County, Idaho 93.29%
  3. Sterling County, Texas 92.91%
  4. Franklin County, Idaho 92.77%
  5. Roberts County, Texas 92.13%
Romney's concession
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 has ever won the Presidency 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.[122][123] 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.[124] 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.[125][126]
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.[127] In addition, the Romney campaign had assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.[128] 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.[129][130]
Reactions
Further information: International reactions to the 2012 United States presidential election
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.[131]
Voter demographics
2012 presidential election by demographic subgroup
Demographic subgroupObamaRomneyOther% of
total vote
Total vote51472100
Ideology
Liberals8611325
Moderates5641341
Conservatives1782135
Party
Democrats927138
Republicans693132
Independents4550529
Gender
Men4552347
Women5544153
Marital status
Married4256260
Unmarried6235340
Sex by marital status
Married men3860229
Married women4653131
Single men5640418
Single women6731223
Race/ethnicity
White3959272
Black936113
Asian732613
Other583842
Hispanic7127210
Religion
Protestant or other Christian4257153
Catholic5048225
Mormon217812
Jewish693012
Other742337
None7026412
Religious service attendance
More than once a week3663114
Once a week4158128
A few times a month5544113
A few times a year5642227
Never6234417
White evangelical or born-again Christian?
White evangelical or born-again Christian2178126
Everyone else6037374
Age
18–24 years old6036411
25–29 years old603828
30–39 years old5542317
40–49 years old4850220
50–64 years old4752128
65 and older4456016
Age by race
Whites 18–29 years old4451511
Whites 30–44 years old3859318
Whites 45–64 years old3861129
Whites 65 and older3961n/a14
Blacks 18–29 years old91813
Blacks 30–44 years old94514
Blacks 45–64 years old937n/a4
Blacks 65 and older93611
Latinos 18–29 years old742334
Latinos 30–44 years old712813
Latinos 45–64 years old683113
Latinos 65 and older6535n/a1
Others673125
LGBT?
Yes762225
No4949295
Education
Not a high school graduate643513
High school graduate5148121
Some college education4948329
College graduate4751229
Postgraduate education5542318
Family income
Under $30,0006335220
$30,000–49,9995742121
$50,000–99,9994652231
$100,000–199,9994454221
$200,000–249,999475213
Over $250,000425534
Union households
Union5840218
Non-union4948382
Region
Northeast5940118
Midwest5148224
South4653136
West5443322
Community size
Big cities (population over 500,000)6929211
Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000)5840221
Suburbs4850247
Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000)425628
Rural areas3761214
Hispanic vote
The United States has a population of 50 million Hispanic and Latino Americans, 27 million of whom are citizens eligible to vote (13% of total eligible voters). Traditionally, only half of eligible Hispanic voters vote (around 7% of voters); of them, 71% voted for Barack Obama (increasing his percentage of the vote by 5%); therefore, the Hispanic vote was an important factor in Obama's re-election, since the vote difference between the two main parties was only 3.9%[132][133][134][135]
Exit polls were conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, New Jersey, for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN,[136] Fox News,[137] and NBC News.[138]
Analysis
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).[139] This was also the first election since 1944 in which neither of the major candidates had any military experience.[140]
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.[141] 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.[142] Obama is the third Democratic president to secure at least 51% of the vote twice, after Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.[143] Romney won the popular vote in 226 congressional districts making this the first time since 1960 that the winner of the election did not win the popular vote in a majority of the congressional districts.[144] Romney also became the first Republican since Gerald Ford's narrow defeat to Jimmy Carter, in 1976, to fail to win a presidential election while earning a minimum of 200 electoral votes. The same feat would also later repeat itself when Donald Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election to Joe Biden with earning at least that number of electoral votes.
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.[145] Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856.[146] Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state.[147][148] 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.[149] Romney won the popular vote in every county of three states: Utah, Oklahoma, and West Virginia; Obama did so in four states: Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.[150]
Romney's loss prompted the Republican National Committee to try to appeal to the American Latino population by concentrating on different approaches to immigration. These were short-lived due to activity and anger from the Republican base and may have contributed to the selection of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate four years later.[151]
Gary Johnson's popular vote total set a Libertarian Party record, and his popular vote percentage was the second-best showing for a Libertarian in a presidential election, trailing only Ed Clark's in 1980.[152] Johnson would go on to beat this record in the 2016 presidential election, winning the most votes for the Libertarian ticket in history. At the time, Green Party candidate Jill Stein's popular vote total made her the most successful female presidential candidate in a general election in United States history.[153][154] This was later surpassed by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Obama's vote total was the fourth most votes received in the history of presidential elections (behind Obama's 2008 victory and both major candidates in 2020) and the most ever for a reelected president. However, Obama also became the first president in American history to be reelected to a second term by smaller margins in every way possible: Compared to his victory in 2008, he won fewer states (28 to 26), fewer electoral votes (365 to 332), fewer popular votes (69.5 million to 65.9 million), a smaller percentage of the popular vote (52.9% to 51.1%), and fewer congressional districts (242 to 209).[155] Woodrow Wilson is the only other two-term president in United States history to win with less electoral votes in their second election (Franklin D. Roosevelt won with less in his third election than in his second).
The 2012 election marked the first time since 1988 in which no state was won by a candidate with a plurality of the state's popular vote. All states were won with over 50% of the vote.
So far, this is the only presidential election in history where both the Republican and Democratic vice presidential candidates are practicing Roman Catholics. It is also the only presidential election where there are no white Protestants on either major party ticket.
Maps
Gallery
See also
References
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