The United States presidential election of 2012 was the 57th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The Republican Party nominated incumbent president John McCain, while the Democratic Party nominated Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois. Obama was elected with a lead of 112,827 votes, or 0.17% of the popular vote, a race closer than 1968 or 2000.

A number of factors explain why the election was so close. In 2010-2011, McCain believed he could count on re-election with ease. The Democrats gained since there was an economic recession which hurt the incumbent Republican, and he had the advantage of 17 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Furthermore, the new votes that Obama gained among liberal African-Americans almost neutralized the new votes McCain gained among moderate Democrats. Obama's campaigning skills decisively outmatched McCain's, as well as his oratory prowess. In the end, McCain's emphasis on his experience carried little weight, and after eight years the nation was tired of him. He wasted energy by campaigning in all 50 states instead of concentrating on the swing states. Obama used his large, well-funded campaign organization to win the nomination, secure endorsements, and, with the aid of major voter registration drives in urban areas, get out the vote in the big cities. He used television ads very effectively. His running mate, Wesley Clark, was a high-ranking general from Arkansas and a moderate, which helped Obama chip away at Democrats who supported McCain because he was a war hero and a moderate. Clark also helped the Democrats make gains in the South.

Obama's victory meant a return to Democratic rule, after the first eight-year stretch of Republican administration since the 1960s. He is the current president and the second African-American one (Colin Powell was the first).

Candidate Barack Obama John McCain
Barack Obama Senate portrait 2005
Official portrait of John McCain (2009)
Party Democratic Republican
Home State Illinois Arizona
Positions Senator

Senator, Vice President

Running Mate Wesley Clark Joe Lieberman
Percentage 49.7% 49.6%
Prior Candidate Howard Dean John McCain

Last Election: 2008

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