Alternative History
United States presidential election, 2012
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2008 ←
November 6, 2012
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All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Official portrait of John McCain (2009) President Hillary Clinton
Nominee John McCain Hillary Clinton
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Arizona New York
Running mate Tim Pawlenty Howard Dean
Delegate count 279 259
States carried 29 21 + D.C.
Percentage 50.52% 48.21%

Electoral College 2012 (SIADD)

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by
McCain/Pawlenty (29), Blue denotes Clinton/Dean (21 + D.C.).

President before election

John McCain

Elected President

John McCain

The United States presidential election of 2012 was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It was the 57th quadrennial presidential election in which presidential electors, who will actually elect the President and the Vice President of the United States on December 17, 2012, were chosen. Incumbent President John McCain ran for a second and final term during this election. His Democratic and major party challenger was Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Two other candidates had attained ballot access sufficient enough to mathematically win the election by a majority of the electoral college: Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

The 2012 presidential election coincided with the United States Senate elections where 33 races were occurring as well as the United States House of Representatives elections to elect the members for the 113th Congress. The election also encompassed eleven gubernatorial races as well as many state legislature races.

As a result of the personal friendship between the two main candidates, many commentators have called the elections "one of the cleanest in recent history" due to the relatively small number of personal attack ads.

Electoral College changes[]

The 2010 Census changed the Electoral College vote apportionment for the Presidential elections from 2012 to 2020 in the following states.

States won by Democrats
in 2000, 2004, and 2008

  • Illinois −1
  • Massachusetts −1
  • Michigan −1
  • New Jersey −1
  • New York −2
  • Washington +1

States won by Republicans
in 2000, 2004, and 2008

  • Arizona +1
  • Florida +2
  • Georgia +1
  • Louisiana −1
  • Missouri −1
  • Ohio −2
  • Pennsylvania −1
  • South Carolina +1
  • Texas +4
  • Utah +1

Remaining states

  • Iowa (Democratic in 2000 and 2008, Republican in 2004) −1
  • Nevada (Democratic in 2008, Republican in 2000 and 2004) +1

Eight states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington) gained votes, due to reapportionment based on the 2010 Census. Similarly ten states (Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) lost votes.

In the political climate of 2011, this would give the Democratic Party a net loss of six electoral votes in states won by Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama in the past three presidential elections, rendering the party a national total of 242. Conversely, the Republican Party will achieve a net gain of five electoral votes in states won by George W. Bush and John McCain in the past three presidential elections, rendering the GOP a national total of 181. Votes allocated to remaining states remain unchanged from the national total of 115.

US Electoral College 2008 SIADD

The result of the 2008 presidential election

Electoral College changes (SIADD)

Changes from the 2000 to the 2010 census


The following are individuals who either formally announced that they are running for president in 2012 and/or filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), or formed an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run in 2012.

Republican Party nomination[]


See also: John McCain presidential campaign, 2012
McCain-Pawlenty 2012 Campaign Logo

The logo of the McCain-Pawlenty re-election campaign.


On April 20, 2011, McCain announced his re-election campaign for 2012 at a White House press conference. He filed election papers with the Federal Election Commission on the same day.

With an incumbent president running for re-election against token opposition, the race for the Republican nomination was largely uneventful. However, some worries were risen by fellow Republicans regarding his age and the moderate policies during his term in office.

Being 76 years old, McCain was the oldest president to have ever served (Reagan was 73 when he got re-elected in 1984), and there were some questions about his capacity to endure the grueling demands of the presidency. McCain, however, refused all rumours of retirement after his first term.

Some conservative Republicans considered contesting against him in response to some of his moderate policies like allowing the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for incomes over $200,000 under the Comprehensive Budget Control and Deficit Reduction Act of 2010 and the bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2009. However, as Republicans feared a repeat of the 1992 presidential election defeat, combined with McCain's approval ratings still above 50% and promises from him that he would work with Congress with finding other tax cuts and deductions, most Republicans (supporters and opponents alike) decided to endorse McCain. Many Republicans were also mostly appreciative of McCain's abilities to reach bipartisan agreements, even if the end results were not always satisfactory.

Democratic Party nomination[]

See also: Democratic Party presidential primaries of 2012



Clinton-Dean Campaign Logo

The logo of the Clinton-Dean campaign.

Major third parties[]

The following third parties have nominated candidates that have ballot access to 270 electoral votes, which is the minimum number needed to win the presidency through a majority of the electoral college.

Write-in states that are confirmed to have full elector slates, and are to be included in the final ballot count, appear in Bold.

Libertarian Party[]

Garyjohnsonphoto - modified

Gary Johnson

Ballot access of Gary Johnson in the 2012 US presidential election

Gold – States where Gary Johnson has ballot access.
Yellow – States where Gary Johnson has write-in access.

  • Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico; vice-presidential nominee: Jim Gray, retired state court judge, from California
Candidate Ballot Access: The Johnson/Gray ticket is on all state ballots except in Michigan and Oklahoma where its ballot access has been challenged. (515 electoral votes)
Write-In Candidate Access: Michigan – (17 electoral votes)
Total: 532 possible electoral votes

Green Party[]

Jill Stein 2012

Jill Stein

Ballot access of Jill Stein in the 2012 US presidential election

Green – States where Jill Stein has ballot access.
Light Green – States where Jill Stein has write-in access.

  • Jill Stein, medical doctor from Massachusetts; vice-presidential nominee: Cheri Honkala, social organizer, from Pennsylvania.
Candidate Ballot Access: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin – (447 electoral votes)
Write-In Candidate Access: Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming – (11 electoral votes)
Total: 458 possible electoral votes

Constitution Party[]

Virgil Goode

Virgil Goode

Ballot access of Virgil Goode in the 2012 US presidential election

Purple – States where Virgil Goode has ballot access.
Light Purple – States where Virgil Goode has write-in access.

  • Virgil Goode, former U.S. congressman, from Virginia; vice-presidential nominee: Jim Clymer from Pennsylvania
Candidate Ballot Access: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming – (257 electoral votes)
Write-In Candidate Access: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia – (133 electoral votes)
Total: 390 possible electoral votes

Justice Party[]

Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson

Ballot access of Rocky Anderson in the 2012 US presidential election

Blue – States where Rocky Anderson has ballot access.
Light Blue – States where Rocky Anderson has write-in access.

  • 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.
Candidate Ballot Access: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington – (145 electoral votes)
Write-In Candidate Access: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming(160 electoral votes)
Total: 305 possible electoral votes

Americans Elect[]

  • No candidates nominated
Ballot access: Before ending its primary process, the organization had gained ballot access in 29 states with 286 electoral votes.

Following the unsuccessful Unity08, Peter Ackerman started Americans Elect, a non-partisan non-profit organization, with the objective of having the first online nomination process in American history. Americans Elect's motto was "Pick a president, not a party". No candidates met the requirements of online support set out by the organization to enter into its online caucus, so on May 17 the primary process came to an end without a nominee and no AE candidate will run for President in 2012. The online caucus site is now inactive except for a home page with the phrase "See You in 2013".

Party conventions[]

Major parties
  • August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • September 4–6, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention to be held in Tampa, Florida.
Minor parties
  • October 14–16, 2011: Socialist Party USA National Convention held in Los Angeles; Stewart Alexander won the nomination.
  • 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: Green National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland; Jill Stein won the nomination.
  • August 10–12, 2012: Reform Party National Convention to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Andre Barnett won the nomination.

General election campaign[]

See also: Nationwide opinion polling for the United States presidential election of 2012
McCain in Florida 2012

McCain during a campaign event in Tampa Bay, Florida on October 25, 2012.

Clinton during the 2012 presidential campaign (SIADD)

Clinton during a campaign event in Denver, Colorado on October 8, 2012.

Electoral votes[]

A candidate wins the presidential election with at least 270 votes of the electoral college.



Main article: United States presidential election debates, 2012
Clinton during the 2012 presidential campaign 2 (SIADD)

Clinton during a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 28, 2012.

McCain in Ohio 2012

McCain during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio on October 1, 2012.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced four debates. Candidates must appear on sufficient state-ballots to be mathematically eligible to win the presidency and achieve at least 15% support in five national polls as of the date of determination, to be some time after Labor Day 2012.

  • October 3: The first presidential debate is scheduled to take place at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. Moderator: Jim Lehrer.
  • October 11: The vice-presidential debate is scheduled to take place at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Moderator: Martha Raddatz.
  • October 16: The second presidential debate is scheduled to take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is to have a town-meeting format. Moderator: Candy Crowley.
  • October 22: The third and final presidential debate is scheduled to take place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Moderator: Bob Schieffer.

Election Results[]

Election Day[]

McCain presidential election victory speech 2012 (SIADD)

John McCain celebrates with his wife Cindy after winning the U.S. presidential election in Tucson, Arizona on November 6, 2012.

Empire State Building McCain election 2012 (SIADD)

The Empire State Building in New York City was lit red when CNN called Ohio for McCain, projecting him the winner of the election; blue would have been used if Clinton had won.

November 6, 2012 was Election Day in 49 states and the District of Columbia; it was the last of 21 consecutive election days in Oregon, which abolished the voting booth in 1998. The majority of states allowed early voting with all states allowing some form of absentee voting. Voters cast votes for listed presidential candidates but were actually selecting their state's slate of Electoral College members.

The first results available were from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, with five votes for McCain and five for Clinton, and from Hart's Location, New Hampshire, with 20 votes for McCain, twelve for Clinton, and one for Gary Johnson. Both towns vote at midnight each election, and results are available shortly thereafter. Additional results became available after the polls closed, beginning at 7 PM Eastern Time. (00:00 GMT)

Clinton amassed wins in some of the Northeastern states and Iowa by 9:20 PM. McCain carried the Southern states by comfortable margins. The election came down to a close race in the final states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Florida, and it was in particular Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Ohio (18 electoral votes), however, that the news media focused their attention on. Mathematically, either one of these state's electoral votes would be the key to an election win for either candidate.

After several hours of vote counting, McCain won Ohio and Florida by small margins, and all American networks called the election in favor of John McCain at 11:30 PM Eastern Standard Time as the polls closed in a handful of western states, with the Electoral College totals being updated to 279 for McCain and 220 for Clinton (270 are needed to win). Senator Clinton gave a concession speech half an hour later. President McCain appeared at 12:30 AM Eastern time, November 6, in Phoenix, Arizona in front of a roaring crowd.

There were several firsts this election. Two astronauts on the International Space Station voted from space using ballots which were transmitted to them over the weekend. For the first time voters in New Jersey were permitted to vote using e-mail. Election officials were not prepared for the 15 minutes it took to validate each request, and as a result, electronic voting was extended until Friday, November 9.

Other firsts in this election were states legalizing same-sex marriage through a vote, in Maryland, Maine and Washington. This raises the number of states which permit same-sex marriage to nine, plus Washington D.C.. The number of states which prohibit same-sex marriage in their constitution remains at 31, as voters in Minnesota rejected the measure. Voters legalized marijuana in Colorado and the state of Washington, and in a non-binding referendum in Puerto Rico, balloters voted to support Puerto Rico becoming a state.


Nationwide results[]

Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential
Home state Electoral
John McCain Republican Arizona 0 50.52% 299 Tim Pawlenty Minnesota 299
Hillary Clinton Democratic New York 0 48.21% 239 Howard Dean Vermont 259
Gary Johnson Libertarian New Mexico 0 0.89% 0 James P. Gray California 0
Jill Stein Green California 0 0.18% 0 Cheri Honkala North Carolina 0
Rocky Anderson Justice Utah 0 0.08% 0 Luis J. Rodriguez California 0
Virgil Goode Constitution Virginia 0 0.06% 0 Jim Clymer Pennsylvania 0
Other 0 0.06% Other
Total 0 100% 538   0
Needed to win 270   0
Popular vote
Electoral vote

Results by state[]

Main article: United States presidential election of 2012 - Results by state
# State Winner Delegates
1 Washington TBD 12
2 Oregon TBD 7
3 California TBD 55
4 Arizona TBD 11
5 Nevada TBD 6
6 New Mexico TBD 5
7 Colorado TBD 9
8 Utah TBD 6
9 Idaho TBD 4
10 Montana TBD 3
11 Wyoming TBD 3
12 North Dakota TBD 3
13 South Dakota TBD 3
14 Nebraska TBD 5
15 Kansas TBD 6
16 Oklahoma TBD 7
17 Texas TBD 38
18 Louisiana TBD 8
19 Arkansas TBD 6
20 Mississippi TBD 6
21 Alabama TBD 9
22 Georgia TBD 16
23 Florida TBD 29
24 South Carolina TBD 9
25 North Carolina TBD 15
26 Virginia TBD 13
27 Tennessee TBD 11
28 Kentucky TBD 8
29 West Virginia TBD 5
30 Ohio TBD 18
31 Indiana TBD 11
32 Illinois TBD 20
33 Michigan TBD 16
34 Wisconsin TBD 10
35 Minnesota TBD 10
36 Iowa TBD 6
37 Maine TBD 4
38 Vermont TBD 3
39 New Hampshire TBD 4
40 Massachusetts TBD 11
41 Rhode Island TBD 4
42 Connecticut TBD 7
43 New York TBD 29
44 Pennsylvania TBD 20
45 New Jersey TBD 14
46 Delaware TBD 3
47 Maryland TBD 10
48 Missouri TBD 10
49 Alaska TBD 3
50 Hawaii TBD 4
51 Washington D.C. TBD 3

Close states/districts[]

Red font color denotes states won by Republican John McCain; blue denotes those won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

States/districts where the margin of victory was under 5% (85 electoral votes):

  1. Colorado 0.24%
  2. Ohio 1.82%
  3. Pennsylvania 1.85%
  4. New Mexico 2.03%
  5. New Hampshire 2.14%
  6. Florida 2.84%

States/districts where margin of victory was more than 5% but less than 10% (26 electoral votes):

  1. Virginia 5.29%
  2. Nevada 6.41%
  3. Iowa 9.3%
  4. Nebraska's 1st congressional district 9.77%

See also[]