On November 6, 2012, 3.2 million fewer Americans voted for Mitt Romney than President Obama. 61.8 million Americans voted for Obama, while only 58.6 million voted for Romney.
Despite losing the popular vote 51% to 48%–not a landslide for Obama by any means, but on the other hand not the “neck and neck” outcome many predicted–Mitt Romney would be President today if he had secured 333,908 more votes in four key swing states.
The final electoral college count gave President Obama a wide 332 to 206 margin over Romney. 270 electoral college votes are needed to win the Presidency.
Romney lost New Hampshire’s 4 electoral college votes by a margin of 40,659. Obama won with 368,529 to Romney’s 327,870.
Romney lost Florida’s 29 electoral college votes by a margin of 73,858. Obama won with 4,236,032 to Romney’s 4,162,174.
Romney lost Ohio’s 18 electoral college votes by a margin of 103,481. Obama won with 2,697,260 to Romney’s 2,593,779
Romney lost Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes by a margin of 115,910. Obama won with 1,905,528 to Romney’s 1,789,618.
Add the 64 electoral college votes from this switch of 333,908 votes in these four key states to Romney’s 206, remove them from Obama’s 332, and Romney defeats Obama 270 to 268.
Overall, voter turnout was down, from 131 million in 2008 to 122 million in 2012. Obama won 7.6 million fewer votes than he did in 2008, and Romney won 1.3 million fewer than McCain in 2008.
Romney improved his vote total’s over McCain’s by the slightest amount in three of these four states, but in Ohio, he actually had 81,000 fewer votes than McCain in 2008.
What do these facts tell us?
Both parties lost support of the population in the four years between 2008 and 2012. While Obama lost more support, he started with more, and he was able to hang on to enough of his base to overcome Romney’s inability to keep and expand his base.
Obama’s victory doesn’t constitute a mandate for his far left agenda to “transform America” into some nightmarish amalgam combining the worst features of a European socialist state with an Indonesian oligarchy.
This election was not about grand vision. It was about small details and focused pandering to specific demographic groups.
The Obama campaign performed its nationally divisive mission of small ball with excellence and focus. In contrast, the Romney campaign failed in the basic nuts and bolts of campaigning and lost focus on the four key states that mattered by diverting the candidate’s time and the campaign’s financial resources to states that didn’t matter.
While Romney campaigned in Ohio on Election Day, his last campaign event took place in Pennsylvania, where he didn’t have a chance. Romney had no election day campaign stops in Virginia or Florida, though he did have an election eve event in New Hampshire.
An even more critical error took place in the diversion of financial resources from Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio to “expand the map” and buy expensive television ad time in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. This grand strategy, developed by Karl Rove’s Crossroads Group and influenced by senior campaign advisor Ed Gillespie, was a fatal error in crucial last weeks of the campaign.
Combining the “expand the map” error with an ineffective, highly centralized, last minute get-out-the-vote effort that fizzled, and there was no way for candidate Romney to overcome the blunders of his campaign team on election day. The Republican Party/Romney campaign get-out-the-vote effort was a debacle of mind-boggling proportion, capped off by an epic election day fail of its never before tested multi-million dollar ORCA software program.
For the Republicans to retain the House and take the Senate in 2014, and then the Presidency in 2016, conservatives are going to have to improve their ground game dramatically. Democrats work at this for every one of the four years before the next Presidential election. It’s time for conservatives to do the same.