United States presidential election, 2012
|Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states/districts won by Obama/Biden. Red denotes those won by Romney/Ryan. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.|
|2012 U.S. presidential election|
The United States presidential election of 2012 was the 57th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The Democratic nominee, incumbent President Barack Obama, and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, were re-elected to a second term, defeating the Republican nominee, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
As the incumbent president, Obama secured the Democratic nomination with no serious opposition. The Republican Party was more fractured; Mitt Romney was consistently competitive in the polls, but faced challenges from a number of more conservative contenders whose popularity each fluctuated, often besting Romney's. Romney effectively secured the nomination by early May as the economy improved, albeit at a persistently laggard rate. The campaign was marked by a sharp rise in fundraising, including from new nominally independent Super PACs. The campaigns focused heavily on domestic issues: debate centered largely around sound responses to the Great Recession in terms of economic recovery and job creation. Other issues included long-term federal budget issues, the future of social insurance programs, and the Affordable Care Act. Foreign policy was also discussed including the phase-out of the Iraq War, the size of and spending on the military, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and appropriate counteractions to terrorism.
Obama would go on to win a decisive victory over Romney, winning both the popular vote and the electoral college, with 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206. He became the eleventh President and third Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote more than once. Obama carried all states and districts (among states that allocate electoral votes by district) that he had won in the 2008 presidential election except North Carolina, Indiana, and Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.
- Timeline 1
- Electoral college changes 2
- State changes to voter registration and electoral rules 3
Democratic Party 4.1
- Primaries 4.1.1
- Candidates 4.1.2
Republican Party 4.2
- Primaries 4.2.1
- Candidates 4.2.2
Other nominations 4.3
- Libertarian Party 4.3.1
- Green Party 4.3.2
- Constitution Party 4.3.3
- Justice Party 4.3.4
- Democratic Party 4.1
- Ballot access 5.1
- Financing and advertising 5.2
- Party conventions 5.3
- Debates 5.4
- Notable expressions, phrases, and statements 5.5
- Votes by Electoral College 6.1
- Close races 6.2
- Romney's concession 6.3
- Reactions 6.4
- Voter demographics 7
- Analysis 8
- Maps 9
- Gallery 10
- See also 11
- References 12
- Further reading 13
- External links 14
- September–October 2012: Early voting begins in some states and continue as late as November 5.
- November 6, 2012: Election Day; at around 11:15 p.m. EST, the networks call Ohio for Obama, projecting him the winner of the election.
- November 7, 2012: Romney concedes the election to Obama at around 1:00 a.m. EST.
- November 10, 2012: The electoral outcomes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia have been definitively projected (the electoral outcome in Florida remained uncertain until November 10). Obama won 332 electoral votes while Romney won 206 electoral votes.
- December 17, 2012: The Electoral College formally re-elects President Obama and Vice President Biden.
- January 3, 2013: The 113th Congress is sworn in.
- January 4, 2013: Electoral votes are formally counted before a joint session of Congress. The re-election of President Obama and Vice President Biden is certified.
- January 20, 2013: President Obama and Vice President Biden take the oaths of office; Obama's second presidential term begins at noon.
- January 21, 2013: The inauguration ceremonies are held.
Electoral college changes
States won by Republicans
Eight states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington) gained votes due to reapportionment based on the 2010 Census. Ten states (Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) lost votes. This gave the Democratic Party a net loss of six electoral votes in states won by Democratic nominees in the previous three presidential elections, rendering the party a national total of 242 electoral votes. Conversely, the Republican Party achieved a net gain of six electoral votes in states won by Republican nominees in the previous three presidential elections, rendering the Republican Party a national total of 180 electoral votes.
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
- 2012 Presidential Form 2 Filers at the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
- Election 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions
- United States presidential election, 2012 at DMOZ
- 2012 Interactive Electoral Map
- Mayer, William G.; Bernstein, Jonathan, eds. (2012). The Making of the Presidential Candidates, 2012. Rowman & Littlefield. Scholars explore nominations in the post-public-funding era, digital media and campaigns, television coverage, and the Tea Party.
- Miller, William J., ed. The 2012 Nomination and the Future of the Republican Party: The Internal Battle (Lexington Books; 2013) 265 pages; essays by experts on Romney and each of his main rivals
- Nelson, Michael, ed. The Elections of 2012 (2013) excerpt and text search; topical essays by experts
- Sides, John, and Lynn Vavreck. The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election (Princeton U.P. 2013) excerpt and text search
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- George, Stephanopoulos (June 6, 2011). "'"Rick Santorum Will Run for President: 'We're In It to Win.
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- "Republican Rick Santorum announces presidential run".
- "Roemer kicks off 2012 presidential bid". KRQE. July 21, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- McKinnon, Mark (July 21, 2011). "Listen to Candidate Roemer". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "Texas Gov. Rick Perry Jumps In Presidential Race". ABC News. August 11, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- Hamby, Peter (January 19, 2012). "BREAKING: Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich". CNN. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Reston, Maeve (August 13, 2011). "Texas Gov. Rick Perry declares GOP presidential bid". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- "Huntsman's sly web strategy", The Hill. May 11, 2011.
- "Jon Huntsman: My Mormonism is 'tough to define'", Politico. May 12, 2011.
- Rucker, Philip (January 4, 2012). "Michele Bachmann drops out of GOP race after Iowa caucuses".
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (June 14, 2011). "Michele Bachmann files paperwork to run for president". The Washington Post.
- Burns, Alexander (June 13, 2011). "Michele Bachmann is in". Politico. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- Camia, Catalina (April 21, 2011). "Ex-N.M. governor Gary Johnson announces for president". USA Today.
- "Gary Johnson throws his hat into the GOP presidential ring, will he be the 2012 Ron Paul?". Los Angeles Times.
- Green, Joshua (May 21, 2011) "Herman Cain Makes It Official", The Atlantic. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- Creed, Ryan (May 21, 2011) "Herman Cain, Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Announces His Candidacy", ABC News. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
- Madison, Lucy (July 1, 2011). "Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter to jump into Republican presidential race".
- Summers, Juana (July 20, 2011). "Candidates face off on Twitter".
- Bakst, Brian (August 14, 2011). "Ex-Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty ends White House bid". The Huffington Post.
- Reinhard, Beth (August 13, 2011). "Bachmann Boom; TPaw Bust?".
- "Libertarians nominate ex-Governor Gary Johnson for president".
- Riggs, Mike (May 5, 2012). "Judge Jim Gray Is the 2012 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nominee".
- "Mass. doctor Jill Stein wins Green Party's presidential nod".
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- "Goode gets Constitution Party's nomination for president".
- "Constitution Party Convention Wrap-Up: vice Presidential Candidate and Officer Elections". Independent Political Report. April 21, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
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- "2012 BALLOT STATUS FOR PRESIDENT". Ballot-access.org. October 27, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
- Braun, Stephen (December 6, 2012). "$2 Billion Price Tag for Presidential Election".
- Confessore, Nicholas (December 7, 2012). "Little to Show for Cash Flood by Big Donors".
- Scherer, Michael (November 27, 2012). "Exclusive: Obama's 2012 Digital Fundraising Outperformed 2008".
- Hunt, Albert (October 14, 2012). "Barrage of Negative Ads May Haunt President-Elect".
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- Blake, Aaron (August 13, 2012) "Presidential debate moderators announced: Crowley is first woman in 20 years", The Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
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- Hicks, Josh (October 24, 2012). "Another third party debate in the works".
- "RT to host final US presidential third-party debate".
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- United States Senate elections, 2012
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- Statewide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2012
- United States presidential election, 2012 timeline
The Obamas and the Bidens embrace following the television announcement of their victory.
The Obamas and the Bidens walk on stage at the election night victory celebration at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Romney meets with President Obama at the White House after the 2012 presidential election.
Cartogram of the electoral vote results, with each square representing one electoral vote.
Results by county. Blue denotes counties that went to Obama; red denotes counties that went to Romney. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont had all counties go to Obama. Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia had all counties go to Romney.
Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote.
Popular vote by county shaded on a scale from red/Republican to blue/Democratic.
Cartogram of popular vote by county shaded on a scale from red/Republican to blue/Democratic where each county has been rescaled in proportion to its population.
Change in popular vote margins at the county level from the 2008 election to the 2012 election. Blue denotes counties that voted more Democratic. Red denotes counties that voted more Republican. Romney's strongest improvements over McCain were in Utah and Appalachia, while Obama's strongest gains were in Alaska, the New York area, and the Gulf states.
Results by congressional district.
Treemap of the popular vote by county, state, and locally predominant recipient.
In total, three states saw Romney win the popular vote in every county - Utah, Oklahoma and West Virginia. Conversely, four states - Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii - saw Obama win the popular vote in every county.
Gary Johnson's popular vote total set a Libertarian Party record, and his popular vote percentage is the second-best showing for a Libertarian in a presidential election, trailing only Ed Clark's in 1980.
Romney lost his home state of 2000 election. Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856. Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state. 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.
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. 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. Overall, Obama is the third Democratic president to secure at least 51% of the vote twice, after Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Combined with the re-elections of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe). This was also the first election since 1944 in which neither of the major candidates had any military experience.
Source: Exit polls conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, N.J., for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News. Total vote and results by region are based on the "Votes by state" section of this article.
|2012 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup|
|Gender by marital status|
|Protestant or other Christian||43||56||1||51|
|Religious service attendance|
|More than once a week||36||63||1||14|
|Once a week||41||58||1||28|
|A few times a month||55||44||1||13|
|A few times a year||56||42||2||27|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian?|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian||21||78||1||26|
|18–24 years old||60||36||4||11|
|25–29 years old||60||38||2||8|
|30–39 years old||55||42||3||17|
|40–49 years old||48||50||2||20|
|50–64 years old||47||52||1||28|
|65 and older||44||56||0||16|
|Gay, lesbian, or bisexual||76||22||2||5|
|Not a high school graduate||64||35||1||3|
|High school graduate||51||48||1||21|
|Some college education||49||48||3||29|
|Big cities (population over 500,000)||69||29||2||11|
|Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000)||58||40||2||21|
|Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000)||42||56||2||8|
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.
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. In addition, the Romney campaign had assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. 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.
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. 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.
After the networks called Ohio (the state that was arguably the most critical for Romney, as no Republican had ever won the election 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. 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.
- Colorado, 5.37%
- Pennsylvania, 5.39%
- New Hampshire, 5.58%
- Iowa, 5.81%
- Nevada, 6.68%
- Wisconsin, 6.94%
- Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 7.16%
- Minnesota, 7.69%
- Georgia, 7.82%
- Maine's 2nd Congressional District, 8.56%
- Arizona, 9.06%
- Missouri, 9.38%
- Michigan, 9.50%
States/districts where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (119 electoral votes):
- Florida, 0.88%
- North Carolina, 2.04%
- Ohio, 2.98%
- Virginia, 3.87%
States where the margin of victory was under 5% (75 electoral votes):
Red font color denotes states (or congressional districts that contribute an electoral vote) won by Republican Mitt Romney; blue denotes those won by Democrat Barack Obama.
★Two states (Maine and Nebraska) allow for their electoral votes to be split between candidates. The winner within each congressional district gets 1 electoral vote for the district. The winner of the statewide vote gets 2 additional electoral votes.
|District of Columbia||WTA||267,070||90.91%||3||21,381||7.28%||–||2,083||0.71%||–||2,458||0.84%||–||772||0.26%||–||245,689||83.63%||293,764||DC|
- WTA - Winner-takes-all
- CD - Congressional district★
|States/districts won by Obama/Biden|
|States/districts won by Romney/Ryan|
Votes by Electoral College
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote|
|Barack Obama||Democratic||Illinois||65,915,796||51.06%||332||Joe Biden||Delaware||332|
|Mitt Romney||Republican||Massachusetts||60,933,500||47.20%||206||Paul Ryan||Wisconsin||206|
|Gary Johnson||Libertarian||New Mexico||1,275,971||0.99%||0||James P. Gray||California||0|
|Jill Stein||Green||Massachusetts||469,628||0.36%||0||Cheri Honkala||Pennsylvania||0|
|Virgil Goode||Constitution||Virginia||122,388||0.09%||0||Jim Clymer||Pennsylvania||0|
|Roseanne Barr||Peace and Freedom||Hawaii||67,326||0.05%||0||Cindy Sheehan||California||0|
|Rocky Anderson||Justice||Utah||43,018||0.03%||0||Luis J. Rodriguez||California||0|
|Tom Hoefling||America's||Iowa||40,628||0.03%||0||Jonathan D. Ellis||Tennessee||0|
|Needed to win||270||270|
Popular vote totals are from the official Federal Election Commission report. The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 4, 2013.
- Severely conservative – In a speech he made at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2012, Romney claimed that he had been a "severely conservative Republican governor". Romney's description of his record as "severely conservative" was widely criticized by political commentators as both rhetorically clumsy and factually inaccurate. Later, the phrase "severely conservative" was frequently brought up by Democrats to make fun of Romney's willingness to associate himself with the far-right of the Republican Party as well as his apparent lack of sincerity while doing so.
- You didn't build that – A portion of a statement that Obama made in a July 2012 campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia. Obama was explaining how businesses depend on government-provided infrastructure to succeed, but many critics of his remarks claimed that he was underplaying the work of entrepreneurs and giving the government credit for individuals' success. The Romney campaign immediately jumped on the statement in an effort to drive a wedge between Obama and small business owners. A major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention was "We Built It".
- 47 percent – An expression Romney used at a private campaign fundraising event, which was secretly recorded and publicly released. At the private event, Romney said that 47 percent of the people would vote for Barack Obama no matter what Romney said or did because those people "...are dependent upon government... I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives".
- Binders full of women – A phrase that Romney used in the second presidential debate to refer to the long list of female candidates that he considered when choosing his cabinet members as Governor of Massachusetts.
- Romnesia – A term coined by a blogger in April 2011 and used by Obama late in the campaign to describe Romney's alleged inability to take responsibility for his past statements.
Notable expressions, phrases, and statements
An independent presidential debate featuring minor party candidates took place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Free & Equal Elections Foundation. The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice). A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Monday, November 5 in Washington, D.C. It was hosted by RT and moderated by Thom Hartmann and Christina Tobin.
- Wednesday, October 3: The first presidential debate took place at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, moderated by Jim Lehrer.
- Thursday, October 11: The vice-presidential debate took place at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, moderated by Martha Raddatz.
- Tuesday, October 16: The second presidential debate took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, moderated by Candy Crowley. It had a town hall format.
- Monday, October 22: The third presidential debate took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, moderated by Bob Schieffer.
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.
- April 18–21, 2012: 2012 Constitution Party National Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee; Virgil Goode won the nomination.
- May 3–6, 2012: 2012 Libertarian National Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada; Gary Johnson won the nomination.
- July 13–15, 2012: 2012 Green National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland; Jill Stein won the nomination.
- August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida; Mitt Romney won the nomination.
- September 3–6, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina; Barack Obama won the nomination.
The United States presidential election of 2012 broke new records in financing, fundraising, and negative campaigning. Through grass-roots campaign contributions, online donations, and Super PACs, Obama and Romney raised a combined total of more than two billion dollars. Super PACs constituted nearly one fourth of the total financing, with most of the total coming from pro-Romney PACs. Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008. Most of the advertising in the 2012 presidential campaign was decidedly negative: it was found that 80% of the ads put out by Obama and 84% of the ads put out by Romney were negative.
Financing and advertising
All other candidates were on the ballots of fewer than 10 states, and less than 20% of voters nationwide saw their names on the ballot.
|Presidential ticket||Party||Ballot access||% of voters seeing name on ballot||Votes|
|Obama / Biden||Democratic||50+DC||100%||65,915,796|
|Romney / Ryan||Republican||50+DC||100%||60,933,500|
|Johnson / Gray||Libertarian||48+ DC||95.1%||1,275,951|
|Stein / Honkala||Green||36 + DC||83.1%||469,628|
|Goode / Clymer||Constitution||26||49.9%||122,388|
|Anderson / Rodriguez||Justice||15||28.1%||43,018|
|Lindsay / Osorio||Socialism & Liberation||13||28.6%||7,791|
- 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.
- Virgil Goode, former U.S. congressman, from Virginia. Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Clymer from Pennsylvania
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico. Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Gray, retired state court judge, from California
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.
- Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts
- Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas (ended active campaigning on May 14, 2012; no endorsement, continued to seek delegates from earlier primaries)
-  (withdrew on May 2, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania (withdrew on April 10, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana (withdrew on February 22, 2012, to run for the nominations of Americans Elect and the Reform Party, then endorsed Gary Johnson)
- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas (withdrew on January 19, 2012, and endorsed Newt Gingrich, then Mitt Romney after Gingrich withdrew)
- Jon Huntsman, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former governor of Utah (withdrew on January 16, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Michele Bachmann, U.S. Representative from Minnesota (withdrew on January 4, 2012, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico (withdrew on December 28, 2011, to run for the nomination of the Libertarian Party)
- Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. Representative from Michigan (withdrew on September 22, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
- Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota (withdrew on August 14, 2011, and endorsed Mitt Romney)
On August 28, 2012, delegates at the Republican National Convention officially named Romney the party's presidential nominee. Romney formally accepted the delegates' nomination on August 30, 2012.
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.
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. 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. After Gingrich's spokesman announced his upcoming withdrawal, the Republican National Committee declared Romney the party's presumptive nominee. Ron Paul officially remained in the race, but he stopped campaigning on May 14 to focus on state conventions.
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.  The
Santorum, who had previously run an essentially one-state campaign in Iowa, was able to organize a national campaign after his surprising victory in Iowa. 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. 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.
A number of candidates dropped out at this point in the nomination process. Bachmann withdrew after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses, Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina.
For the first time in modern Republican Party history, three different candidates won the first three primary contests in January (Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina). Although Romney had been expected to win in at least Iowa and New Hampshire, Rick Santorum won Iowa by 34 votes, Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a surprisingly large margin, and Romney won only in New Hampshire.
Due to a number of scandals, Cain withdrew just before the end of the year, after having gotten on the ballot in several states. Around the same time, Johnson, who had been able to get into only one other debate, withdrew to seek the Libertarian Party nomination.
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, including Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, and Texas Governor Rick Perry, 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.
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). 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.
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 Rep. Michele Bachmann participating, and Gary Johnson excluded. A total of thirteen debates were held before the Iowa caucuses.
Candidates with considerable name recognition who entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the early stages of the primary campaign included 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.
With an 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, President 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.
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. 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.
 The Obama campaign fought against the Ohio law, pushing for a petition and statewide referendum to repeal it in time for the 2012 election. for lobbying in states to bring about these laws, to "solve" a problem that does not exist.American Legislative Exchange Council magazine criticized the Rolling Stone  most blacks from voting and excluded them from the political process for more than six decades. Clinton said the moves would effectively disfranchise core voter blocs that trend liberal, including college students, Blacks, and Latinos.disfranchised He was referring to Jim Crow laws passed in southern states near the turn of the twentieth century that  on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today".Jim Crow burdens and all the poll tax denounced them, saying, "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the Bill Clinton Former President , and the Democratic Party fought against many of the new state laws.NAACP 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 laws requiring voters to have government-issued IDs state legislatures passed  and Wisconsin Tennessee, Texas 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,