President Barack Obama was elected to a second four-year term Tuesday, securing, at the time of publishing, 303 out of 538 Electoral College votes. 270 votes are needed to win an election. At the time of publishing, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Obama’s challenger, was down with 48.5 percent of the popular vote, compared to Obama’s 50.0 percent. Earlier, there had been concern that the situation would be similar to the 2000 Presidential Election, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to George W. Bush. The 0.1 percent popular vote difference totaled only about 130,000 votes nationwide.
The Associated Press called the election for Obama around 11:30 pm Tuesday. Obama, who won the 2008 election with more than double opponent John McCain’s electoral votes, found himself in a much closer race this go-round. Regardless of the narrow margins, even before the AP called the race, networks projected Obama the winner. In response, he thanked his supporters via Twitter, saying “We’re all in this together. That’s how we campaigned, and that’s who we are. Thank you.”
Romney, only days before, was predicted by many organizations to win over 300 electoral votes, but as the election drew closer, he lost some of the poll numbers he had built up. He was shown to have only had a little increase in the Republican Party’s 2008 electoral map, taking back Indiana and running strong in North Carolina.
Exit polls released on Tuesday showed that 60 percent of voters felt that the economy was their primary concern, but many blamed former President George W. Bush, rather than Obama. Having that knowledge early, Romney ran his campaign likewise, assuming that Americans were fed up with the stagnant economy, but voters were unwilling to oust the incumbent.
Exit polls also showed that 52 percent of respondents believed Romney’s policies would favor the rich, while 36 percent thought they would favor the middle class. For Obama, 43 percent believed that his policies leaned toward the middle class, and just 10 percent believed that of the rich.
Full, official election results are not in at the time of writing, but it is believed that voter turnout has exploded since the 2008 race, with large numbers of Hispanic and black voters heading to the polls. Because of this, Obama may have won the reelection by defying expectations that the electorate would be more heavily Caucasian and more conservative than that of four years ago.
Exit polls, in fact, showed a similar, even wider, diversity than the 2008 election. African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians made up a combined 26 percent of the voting population, compared to 24 percent four years ago. Age breakdown was similar, too, with voters aged 18–29 making up 19 percent of the electorate, up from 18 percent in 2008.
Republicans across the Midwest and East Coast were disappointed down the ballot as well, losing many key Senate races, leaving them with no way of taking over the branch. A prime example of this is the defeat of incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who lost to challenger Elizabeth Warren by roughly eight percent points. The race was one of the most expensive in the country, setting records for campaign spending. It also resulted in the first female Senator in the history of the Commonwealth.
Republicans are projected to have held down the House of Representatives, though, with 224 seats, more than the 218 needed for the majority.