As we prepare to truly turn the page on the 2012 election and begin to focus on the 2014 cycle, here are 25 interesting facts about the 2012 election that you probably didn’t know. If we were more creative, we could have come up with 12, but we had trouble finding nine challengers dancing, 10 incumbents a leaping, or 11 pollsters piping (yes, we were surprised too).
• Despite the media’s focus on Florida and Ohio, Pennsylvania actually provided President Obama with the “decisive” 270th Electoral College vote, beating out Colorado (the 2008 Tipping Point state) by 0.02 percent. Obama won 52.75 percent of the two-party vote in Colorado, and 52.73 percent of the two-party vote in Pennsylvania.
• President Obama won 77 percent of all counties with a Whole Foods Market, and just 29 percent of all counties with a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Adjusted to today’s locations, former President Bill Clinton won 60 percent of Whole Foods counties and 40 percent of Cracker Barrel counties in 1992.
• Without huge margins from minority and young voters in just three counties – Broward County, FL; Cuyahoga County, OH; and Philadelphia County, PA – President Obama would have lost each of those three states and with them, the Electoral College.
• President Obama won 62 percent of all Electoral College votes but just 22 percent of all counties. In 1988, Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis carried 819 counties and lost by ten points. In 2012, Obama won just 690 counties but won the popular vote by four points.
• Voter turnout between 2008 and 2012 increased the most in Colorado (+7 percent). It went down the most in New York (-12.58 percent).
• According to exit polls, 41 percent of voters identified themselves as moderates, compared to 35 percent who said they were conservatives, and 25 percent who said they were liberals. President Obama won the moderate vote by 15 points, which more than makes up for self-identifying conservatives’ 10-percent advantage over liberals.
• About $3.2 billion was spent on all political advertising on broadcast television in 2012, approximately $1.1 billion of which was spent in the presidential race. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• With the exception of ads placed on national network or cable TV, only 85 media markets out of 210 saw any presidential TV advertising. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• The biggest spender on broadcast TV advertising in the presidential race was Obama for America and the second-biggest was Romney for President. However, just two Republican super PACs – American Crossroads and Restore Our Future – combined to spend more on TV advertising on behalf of Romney than Romney himself spent on the air. And, that’s not counting other big-spending groups such as Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• 37 different Republican outside groups advertised in the 2012 presidential race compared with 21 Democratic outside groups. During the final weeklong push to Election Day, 22 different Republican sponsors had ads on the air, compared with 13 Democratic sponsors. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• Jobs was by far the most mentioned issue in the presidential race. Mentions of jobs almost tripled in TV ad occurrences between 2008 and 2012. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• An estimated $57 million was spent by Democratic advertisers on TV ads focused on Bain Capital. (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG)
• Democrats won the popular vote for the House by roughly 1.5 million votes and one percentage point, marking only the second time in the post-war era when one party has won more votes for House but scored a minority of seats. Republicans won 54 percent of seats, but just 49 percent of the popular vote.
• Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried roughly 52 percent of all Congressional districts.
• Only 15 of the 234 Republicans who were elected to the House last month are from districts that President Obama carried, meaning that 219 House Republicans are in districts that GOP nominee Mitt Romney won.
• 96 percent of House Democrats sit in districts Obama won.
• 37 House incumbents did not face major party opposition; 13 of them didn’t have any opponent at all.
• The closest race for the House was in North Carolina’s 7th congressional district. Democratic incumbent Rep. Mike McIntyre defeated GOP state Sen. David Rouzer by 654 votes.
• Over the past three election cycles (2008, 2010 and 2012), nearly 40 percent of the Senate has turned over: 23 members retired, three incumbents resigned, eight lost general elections, three lost primaries, and two passed away. In this tally, we count both the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, but do not count Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
• The closest Senate contest was in North Dakota. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp defeated Republican Rick Berg by 2,936 votes.
• The biggest Senate blowout was in Wyoming where Republican Sen. John Barrasso took 76 percent of the vote to 22 percent for Democrat Tim Chesnut, whose campaign slogan was “Chesnut, the best nut for Senate.”
• The closest Governor’s race was in Montana where Democrat Steve Bullock beat Republican Rick Hill 48.9 percent to 47.3 percent, or 7,571 votes.
• The biggest blowout in a Governor’s race came in Delaware where Democratic Gov. Jack Markell took 69 percent against GOP businessman Jeff Cragg.
• According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, one party controls the legislature in 46 states; the majority party also controls the Governorship in 38 of these states.
• Democrats gained about 150 seats in state legislatures, and took back eight chambers they lost in 2010. (Source: NCSL.org)
- November 8, 2012How House Democrats Beat the Point Spread
- December 13, 2012House GOP Won 49 Percent of Votes, 54 Percent of Seats
- December 13, 2012Romney May Have Lost, but Super PACs Didn’t
Charlie Cook's Column
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