Presidential Election 2012
On 03 April 2011, President Barack Obama formally announced he was seeking another four-year term. The announcement was made as the president grappled with major foreign and domestic issues, including efforts to accelerate the U.S. economic recovery. Several recent polls put his disapproval rating at between 50 and 53 percent. He hit 51 percent approval in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. A Gallup survey showed an equal number of Americans approving and disapproving of his work.
In 2012, Barack Obama was an incumbent and incumbent presidents are tough to beat. Since the end of World War II, only two elected presidents have failed to win a second term. Democrat Jimmy Carter lost to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Republican George H.W. Bush was defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992 (not including Republican Gerald Ford’s defeat to Carter in 1976 since Ford was not elected president in the first place.) While incumbency has some advantages, incumbent presidents seeking re-election are most vulnerable when voters think the national economy is weak, as they did in the case of the Carter defeat in 1980 and the Bush loss in 1992.
The Romney campaign’s theory of the case was always to present their man as an experienced business and political leader who knows how to fix the economy. This assumed the public had already come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is a failed president on the basis of his economic record. Romney has very little need to convince Republican stalwarts that Obama must go. They were already unified — not because they are enamored with Mitt Romney as their nominee, but because they really don’t like the president or his policies.
As in 2008, the Obama re-election campaign would not be accepting funds from the federal government. That gave him flexibility to raise even larger amounts than the more than $780 million he received in 2008, with many political analysts projecting he may need $1 billion dollars for 2012. One Romney advantage appeared to be money. The fundraising totals for June 2012 showed the Romney camp brought in $106 million, well ahead of the Obama campaign total of $71 million for the month. That makes two straight months that Romney has outraised the president.
The Republican fundraising machine was cranking out cash and the influence of the Super Pac groups could prove to be hugely helpful to Romney’s efforts in November. The Obama campaign spent a lot of money trying to run down Romney’s record as a businessman and governor, but that effort is burning through available cash. Romney and his allies were stockpiling their money arsenal for later when they are expected to make a late push on voters with a variation of the famous Ronald Reagan line from his 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter — are you better off now than you were four years ago?
With every presidential election, the role and impact of the Internet grows. In 2012, so-called ‘social media,’ such as Facebook, Twitter and the like, have become a prominent means of political communication. Political campaigns used to rely on speeches, rallies, and newspapers to reach and motivate voters. Then radio and TV made it possible to reach everyone quickly and simultaneously. Today, campaigns can spread their messages instantly - and, interactively - through the Internet’s so-called ‘social media.’ In the 2012 presidential election, both major candidates - the incumbent president, Obama, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are using the Internet - including social media like Facebook and Twitter - massively, and strategically. And, each form has a role to play in message delivery.
Joel Gilbert is a filmmaker and producer, the sole owner and President of Highway 61 Entertainment, LLC. The company has produced fictional films in documentary format, including Elvis Found Alive. Gilbert wrote and directed Dreams, and Highway 61 completed production of Dreams in April 2012. The slip cover of the Dreams DVD describes the film as "the alternative Barack Obama 'autobiography,' offering a divergent theory of what may have shaped our 44th President's life and politics." The film is narrated by an actor impersonating Obama, recited from a first-person perspective. The design elements of the film and its marketing materials mirror Obama's authorized autobiographical account. Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, first published in 1995 and re-released in the fall of 2004 after the nomination of Obama as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois.
The film's narration commences with the statement, "Everywhere you look in my background, you'll find people who despise America and want to transform it radically. Americans often wonder: Why am I so comfortable with anti-American extremists, and why are they so comfortable with me?" The film then generally asserts that Obama sought to deceive the American public through a web of lies and concealed relationships, all stemming from the central allegation that Franklin Marshall Davis, an American communist, was Obama's real father". The film claimed Weather Underground member Bill Ayers funded Obama's education and aided his political career; and Obiama was a "Red Diaper Baby".
By June 2012, less than five months before Election Day, the Obama-Romney race was shaping up as extremely close. The less than stellar recent economic news followed by Governor Scott Walker’s recall election victory in Wisconsin meant an uptick in Romney’s chances, at least for the moment. But Bloomberg gave the president a huge 53 to 40 percent lead over Romney, one of the largest gaps seen in recent national polls. The question was debated whether the Bloomberg survey was an aberration in the ongoing series of polls or whether it hinted at some sort of major shift in the race. In one survey on independent voters, it was stunning how few believe the country is headed in the right direction (15 percent) and how many believe it is headed in the wrong direction (81 percent).
The two camps represented very different views of the role of the federal government. The Democrats and the President Obama camp certainly believed that the federal government should have a strong, positive role in addressing the major challenges that face American society. The Romney-Republican camp believed that the federal government should stay out of many aspects of American life and that the overall role of the federal government should shrink. Along with that, taxes should shrink, in their view.
Republicans seemed unified in their dislike for President Obama and a strong desire to throw him out of office. This anti-Obama feeling would likely trump any conservative hesitation about Mitt Romney not being enough of a true-believer to turn out the party faithful. The best thing Romney had going for him was how negatively Republicans felt about the president — and not any enthusiasm they may have for the former Massachusetts governor. On the economy, the latest meager jobs numbers and a looming sense that the country may be headed for more rocky times in the months ahead were clearly bad news for the president. This could help the Romney effort to make the election simply a referendum on President Obama, a simple thumbs-up or down on his first three years in office.
Obama and the Democrats had an even greater challenge in getting their supporters out to the polls again this year, especially the young college students and minority voters who turned out in 2008, many voting for the first time. Some of these folks were disappointed in the Obama term so far and will need extra prodding to get out in November.
The Obama team, on the other hand, wanted voters to look at the election as more of a choice than a referendum. So the president and surrogates like former president Bill Clinton continued to warn that electing Romney would be turning the reins of power back over to the same crowd responsible for the economic meltdown in the first place. The president needed better economic news at some point, either on jobs, economic growth or housing. Minus that, the Democrats will really need to fire up their base supporters and try to replicate the massive turnout they had in 2008 that propelled then-candidate Obama to a comfortable victory over John McCain.
Less than four months until Election Day and the 2012 U.S. presidential race still looked very tight. The latest July 2017 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 47 percent each and that concern over the economy remains the driving issue in the election. The survey also shows most voters are already leaning strongly one way or the other and that leaves a relatively small pool of pure undecided voters left to be swayed between now and November. The Post-ABC poll found that about two-thirds of those surveyed believe the country is seriously off course, bad news for the president. On the other hand, Obama scored much better than Romney on the issue of likeability.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was officially nominated as the Republican Party's presidential candidate 28 August 2012, ending a lengthy selection process that began with the Iowa caucus vote in early January 2012. Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan was also nominated to be Romney's vice presidential running mate. Some of Romney's former rivals for the Republican nomination rallied around him at the convention, including former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, a favorite of social conservatives within the party.
Republican Mitt Romney said his economic plan included taking a stronger position toward China. "On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator, which will allow me as president to be able to put in place, if necessary, tariffs where I believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers."
President Obama said the key to a strong economy is to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. He says Mr. Romney is the wrong person to do it. "Keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China. Governor, you're the last person who is going to get tough on China." But some black voters say President Obama has not done enough to deal with concerns in the black community. Obama had been criticized for not keeping his campaign promise to present a broad immigration reform bill during his first year in office.
Obama won the election, defeating Republican Mitt Romney on November 6. Obama won 65,446,032 votes [50.9% of total votes cast] with 332 electoral votes, while Romney won 60,589,084 votes [47.1% of total votes cast] with 206 electoral votes. Candidates of other parties gained 2,518,731 votes, about 2.0% of the total vote. Surveys of voters leaving polling places on November 6 showed that blacks, Hispanics, Asians and young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Exit polls suggest Asian Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama in Tuesday's election that handed the incumbent Democrat a second term in the White House. Preliminary national exit poll data suggested that 73 percent of Asian Americans voted for President Obama, while only 26 percent supported his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. Seventy-one percent of Latinos said they supported Obama, while 93 percent of African Americans reported voting for the president.
Defeated contender Mitt Romney told his campaign donors that he lost the national election because President Barack Obama showered "financial gifts" from the government on segments of the American electorate who then voted for him. In a post-election call to the donors 15 November 2016, the Republican challenger said the Democratic incumbent had handed key voting blocs - African Americans, Hispanics and young people - significant aid. He cited passage of Obama's national health care reform, which allowed young adults to use their parents' health insurance, and the president's ending deportation of most young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.
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