Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 2012 US general elections, a historic view

This marked the 57th quadrennial presidential election for the United States
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Yesterday, November 6th, 2012 Barack Obama became the 15th US President to be reelected for two consecutive presidential terms. Only Franklin Delano Roosevelt has had more than two terms (1932-1945). 

CNN’s preliminary data shows a turnout of approximately 56% of the voting-age population. Although, this reflects a decrease in relation to the 2008 general elections, the overall trend showing a steady increase prevailed. Two demographic groups that seem to have played an important role in Obama’s favor are young voters and Hispanics. According to the most recent information available, young voters (ages 18-29) and Hispanics increased their participation in 1% as compared to 2008. Obama managed to capture 60% of young voters and 71% of Hispanics this time around. 

Joe Biden was again Obama’s Vice President candidate. From all Presidents US has had since George Washington’s first presidency from 1789 to 1797, 37 were chosen in elections. John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur, Andrew Johnson, Calvin Coolidge, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald R. Ford, succeeded incumbent Presidents following their abandonment of office due to illness, death, or in the unique case of Ford, Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

According to USA Today, President Obama won by a margin of 97 electoral votes (303 to 206). In 1936, Franklin Roosevelt defeated Alf Landon by the biggest difference ever recorded in a US election, 515 electoral votes. The smallest difference in electoral votes occurred during the 1824 presidential elections in which Andrew Jackson had only 15 electoral votes over his closest contender. The decision was taken into the House of Representatives which decided to appoint John Quincy Adams as President.

In terms of popular votes, President Obama obtained an approximate 2% margin over Mitt Romney. Only 5 presidents have received a greater number of popular votes but lost in electoral colleges. The last one being Al Gore during the 2000 elections. In 1876, Rutherford Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden with a difference in popular vote of 1 vote.

Obama is the 21st Democrat President. Republicans have managed to win the presidency with 22 candidates. Only 4 presidents in the history of the US have lead this nation coming from parties other than the Democratic or Republican parties. It is important to mention that two independent candidates, Angus King and Bernie Sanders, managed to obtain seats in the Senate.

In spite the difficulties presented by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast Cost, the US managed to pull out another successful election. Mitt Romney, the losing candidate from the Republican Party conceded defeat around 1:30 am on November 7, 2012.