Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States on Nov. 6 with a total of 303 electoral votes, defeating Republican candidate Mitt Romney by carrying swing states like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire. Complications have prevented key player Florida, however, from concluding which candidate won the state’s 29 electoral votes.
Accordingly, there is not yet an official word on the results of the popular vote. However, Obama led 60,193,076 (50.4 percent) to 57,468,587 (48.1 percent) as of press time. Obama carried 69 million popular votes to John McCain’s 59 million in 2008. The race, then, was much closer for Obama, who faced low voter enthusiasm and the nation’s frustration with slow economic recovery.
“Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president,” Obama, 51, said early Wednesday during his acceptance speech in Chicago. “And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”
Exit polls indicated that Obama garnered fewer votes from demographics like 18-29 year olds, blacks and Catholics than in the 2008 election. However, votes from Hispanics, Democrats and Asians ticked upward.
Romney dominated the male vote with 52 percent, while Obama took the female vote with 55 percent. Romney also won 59 percent of white voters, who this year cast 72 percent of total votes, the best a Republican candidate has done since 1988.
Although television networks like MSNBC, CBS and CNN projected that Obama had won the election around 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Romney waited until close to 1 a.m. on Wednesday to concede, after he and his staff had concluded that no recounting of close votes could declare him victorious.
“This election is over, but our principles endure,” Romney, 65, said during his concession speech in Boston. “I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to a renewed greatness.”
Regarding voter turnout overall, preliminary figures by the Associated Press demonstrated that more than 118 million people voted in the presidential race, although that figure will rise as ballots continue to be counted. According to the Federal Election Commission, 131 million citizens voted in 2008.
Another preliminary study out of George Mason University estimated the 2012 voter turnout rate to account for about 60 percent of all eligible voters. American University’s analysis found that turnout rates in states like New York and New Jersey were lower than normal because of superstorm Sandy, as the states are still struggling to recover. Estimates gauged that New Jersey’s voter turnout was 12 percent less than in 2008, while in New York the turnout was 15 percent lower.
“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe,” Obama said in the conclusion to his speech. “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”
On Wednesday, Obama returned to work by opening negotiations with Congress, which remained in Republican hands after the election, regarding the looming fiscal crisis.