Monday, 29 September 2014

Why did Obama win the 2012 presidential election?
Year 13 Politics Group decide

Many articles (USA Today, Real Clear Politics, CBS News for example) have been written about Obama's victory in 2012 but what really made the difference? 


  1. There are many factors which contribute to Obama’s success, not only did he use his early advantage shrewdly while Governor Romney fought in the Republican primaries, he ran a permanent campaign and had a very talented team. In terms of voter registration, organisation, and use of money he ran a much better campaign, making up for his poor debate performance. Hurricane Sandy also had an impact, with 64% of voters saying that the president’s response to the hurricane was a factor in their decision, it gave Obama the chance to exhibit presidential leadership in a very public way. Finally, a third important factor which contributed heavily to Obama’s success was Mitt Romney himself, who was described as ‘an awkward presence, uneasy at making small-talk with voters’. Furthermore, dismissing ‘47%’ of Americans who don’t pay taxes or live off government assistance in a video discovered from a private Romney fundraiser probably didn't help his case either.


    1. *There were many factors which contributed (JB)

  2. Despite Romney’s countless verbal gaffes, of which there were ‘whole binders full’, I would say that the predominant reason for Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential election was because he simply ran the better campaign. While Romney had 52 field offices open across Florida, Obama had 106. Where Romney had 40 open in Ohio, the president had 131. This was a critical strategic move, especially in the swing states. Obama’s get-out-the-vote operation was greatly successful, with the Hispanic vote in Florida jumping from 14% (2008) to 17% (2012), and the African American vote in Ohio increasing from 11% to 15%. As a result of Obama’s undeniably well organised campaign, alongside the incumbency factor, and the charismatic way in which he was able to pass the buck on economic problems, his victory was certainly not unwarranted. (GS)

  3. Obama may have won in 2012 but Romney was Rob-neyed. The American people were careless and will have to now pay the price.

    Many claimed Romney was out of touch with the American people. This is simply not true. Romney is a symbol of hope, of what you can achieve. He is the American dream. With strength and determination you too can be an upper-class, white male earning more money than you can possibly know what to do with. Romney could have been our future. Romney was the way forward.

    Obama promised change in 2008 but what changed? Nothing. This man sat on his backside in that egg-shaped office and accomplished nothing. The economy is still in disarray. The unemployment rate is at 6.1%, that means there are 16 million Americans out of work. What is Russia’s unemployment rate? 4.9%. We are losing.

    As Romney said during his campaign the 47% who are with Obama are dependent on the government. They believe they are victims and that the government has a responsibility to care for them. Why should Americans with a higher income pay for those with a lower income? Those people work hard for their money and should not have to give it up for these people; it is not their fault that others are poor. I could be buying a couple of Cadillacs with the money I give in tax.

    Looking at the results from the 2012 election we can see that Romney had a 10-percentage-point lead with those aged 65 and older. Wiser people vote Romney. These facts are irrefutable. 60% of 18-29 year olds voted for Obama. These naive children were led astray by Obama, their ignorant minds easily manipulated by him. They were bewitched by Obama’s ‘gift’ - the provision in the ‘Affordable Care Act’ allowing those aged up to 26 years old to remain on their parent’s health insurance. Obamacare is clearly communist propaganda. America may look like the Soviet Union by the end of his term!

    Not to mention, God punished America for Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage in the form of Hurricane Sandy. The disaster interrupted Romney’s post-debate momentum. He was snatched from the news headlines for 3 crucial days. America was distracted and Obama bamboozled us all.

    Wake up America, before it’s too late.

    - xoX ovenmittsromney4ever Xox

  4. Of the 31 presidents that have run for re-election since 1967, only 9 have been unsuccessful. The statistics therefore clearly favoured Obama from the beginning, with America voters' default position seeming to be to re-elect presidents to a second term. Obama therefore had an easier fight to win than Romney, and the fact that he still ran the better campaign, as pointed out by GS, meant that his victory was almost inevitable.

    The Obama campaign spent $1.2 million on negative TV adverts about Romney in Ohio alone - Romney's campaign did not have the money to do anything in response, and Obama won in the crucial swing state, proving the importance of good finance in winning support and ultimately the election. Obama’s superior campaign, however, should not be viewed as a factor entirely separate from his incumbency – the fact that Obama was running for re-election meant that he was already known to the public, which contributed to his high level of support and great success in fundraising for his campaign.

    JB cites Romney’s gaffes and embarrassments as a reason for Obama’s success. Obama, however, also made mistakes, and so this alone cannot explain the outcome of the election. Obama's established reputation allowed him to get away with mistakes that might have been fatal for a relatively unknown candidate attempting to make a good first impression. His performance in the TV debate with Romney was widely criticised by political commentators and the media, with most judging Romney to have won the debate. However, Obama was already regarded as an excellent speaker, and so it could be argued that he was forgiven for his sub-par performance, with voters remembering other far more impressive performances.

    It can therefore be seen that Obama’s incumbency was the crucial determining factor to his winning the election, giving him a strong starting platform to his campaign. JB highlights the importance of Obama’s ability to appear presidential after Hurricane Sandy, but had in not been for his incumbency, this opportunity would not have been available to him. Obama won for a variety of reasons, all working together to present him as the stronger candidate, but his incumbency is at the centre of this web.


  5. Obama's victory was mainly down to the fact that he ran the better campaign. As the incumbent, Obama knew exactly what he needed to do in order to get the American voters on his side. He managed to convince Americans that the downward spiralling economy was not his fault and that it was the result of Bush's irresponsible fiscal policy.

    Furthermore, Obama took strategic steps in order to acquire more voters. The Obama campaign set up more field offices than all of the Republican candidates put together. Thousands of listening sessions were also set up across America in order for the Democratic party to get direct feedback from voters and also gain their trust.

    Despite Obama's downfall in the presidential debate, Obama had the best personality among the two candidates and portrayed himself to be a 'friendly' yet authoritative character who was determined to fulfill his agenda. The fact that Romney was a Mormon also aided Obama in his campaign as the American perception of this sect is mainly negative.