2012 United States presidential election
The 2012 United States presidential election was the 57th quadrennial presidential selection, held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama, and his running mate, 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.
As the incumbent president, Obama secured the Democratic nomination with no 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 other candidates.
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). 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 9 swing states identified by the Washington Post in the 2012 election, Obama won 8, losing only North Carolina narrowly.