Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

February 9, 2013 12:00 PM

The Final Numbers for 2012

Total votes cast in 2012 – 129,064,662 – 58.9% of eligible voters
Total votes cast in 2008 – 131,313,820 – 61.6% of eligible voters
Drop in total votes cast – 2,249,158

Change in % of the raw vote between 2008 and 2012

U.S. total (-)1.72%
12 swing states (+) .28%
Non-swing states (-)2.75%

Total votes cast in 2012 for Total votes cast in 2008 for
Obama - 65,899,660 Obama - 69,498,516
Romney - 60,929,152 McCain - 59,948,323
Other candidates - 2,234,791 Other candidates - 1,648,581
Obama over Romney +4,970,508 Obama over McCain +9,550,193
Percentage of the 3-Party vote cast for  
Obama - 51.06%  
Romney - 47.23%  
Others - 1.73%  
Percentage of the 2-Party vote cast  
Obama - 52%  
Romney - 48%  

States won
2012 Obama won 26 States + DC (332 electoral votes)
  2008 Obama won 28 States + DC (365 electoral votes)
2012 Romney won 24 States (206 electoral votes)
  2008 McCain won 22 States (173 electoral votes)

Obama received 50% or more of the vote in 14 States (201 Electoral votes). He received 40% or less of the vote in 14 of the States (79 Electoral votes).

Since 1996, an increasing share of the of the Democratic Presidential candidate’s vote is composed of self-described liberals. A decreasing share has come from self-described moderates and a relatively stable share of self-described conservatives.

The number of self-described liberals in the Democrat’s vote has grown from 31 to 43%. The number of moderates has dropped from 55 to 46%. The number of conservatives is down from 14 to 12%.

During that same period the number of self-described liberals in the exit poll sample has grown from 20 to 25%. The number of moderates has dropped from 47 to 41%. And the number or conservatives has grown from 33 to 35%. [NJ 2/13]

The Money

Through the end of 2012 the Democratic and Republican general election candidates for President, along with the Party organizations and the two Super PACs which they directly or tacitly controlled, raised $2,158, 903,167. Of that amount, $1.126 billion was raised by the Obama forces and $1.032 billion by Romney forces.

In 2012, the Obama campaign raised $732,741,988 [ $778,642,862 in 2008]. The Romney campaign raised $478,704,347 in 2012 [McCain raised $379,006,485 in 2008].

While the Obama campaign committee outraised the Romney campaign committee by $254 million, the Republican National Committee outraised the Democratic National Committee by $85 million. The Romney-supporting Super PAC, Restore our Future, outraised the Obama-supporting Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, by $74 million.

  Obama Romney
Raised $732,741,988 $478,704,347
Spent 729,647,986 465,787,140
Cash net of debt -1,825,753 11,721,628
Total raised $314,856,002 $399,695,646
Total Spent 308,391,651 394,446,827
Cash net of debt -6,497,401 6,035,082
  Obama+DNC Romney+RNC
Raised $1,047,597,990 $878,399,993
Spent 1,038,039,637 860,233,967
Cash net of debt -8,323,154 17,756,710

The two Super PACs organized to specifically support the two Presidential nominees were:

  Priorities USA Action
(Supported Obama)
Restore our Future
(Supported Romney)
Raised $79,063,478 $153,841,706
Independent Expenditures 74,733,386 152,404,481
Cash net of debt 4,330,092 1,399,945

Communication or coordination between the Super PACs and the candidates they support was not permitted. However, given the fact that each of the Super PACs was run by folks loyal to the respective candidates, it is not beyond the pale to combine their revenues with the spending of the candidate and Party committees for the purpose of estimating the financial resources available to each candidate.

  Obama Romney
Candidate Committee $732,741,988 $478,704,347
National Party 314,856,002 399,695,646
Priorities USA Action 79,063,478  
Restore our Future   153,841,706
Total $1,126,661,468 $1,032,241,699

  Majority PAC American Crossroads
Total raised $42,101,570 $117,467,007
Independent Expenditures 41,852,942 116,730,037

Here are five conservative and five liberal Super PACs that were particularly active in addition to those cited above. Most of their spending was directed at Congressional campaigns.

  Liberal Conservative
  House Majority Club for Growth Action
Total raised $35,793,488 $18,234,095
Independent Expenditures 35,376,115 17,779,019
Total raised $12,447,730 $11,274,750
Independent Expenditures 10,511,538 10,743,660
  AFL-CIO Freedomworks
Total raised $20,814,780 $23,296,061
Independent Expenditures 20,779,833 22,090,583
  NEA Advocacy YGA
Total raised $9,310,951 $5,948,183
Independent Expenditures 9,028,999 5,859,344

AB21C – American Bridge 21st Century
CLF – Congressional Leadership Fund
YGA – Young Guns Action Fund

None of the above relates to the substantial spending done by a variety of so- called 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.

Many commentators, including WW, look to the data driven technology and organization that the Obama campaign used to turn out the vote as the primary basis for Obama’s election victory.

Mathew Dowd, for whom WW has a high regard, brings a different perspective to the question of why Obama won.

He agrees that the organization, the advertising dollars, and Presidential visits to the battleground States had an effect. However he suggests that there are three other factors that drove the Obama victory.

Those factors are a flawed opponent, a recovering economy which lifted Obama’s job approval number, and Hurricane Sandy, which allowed Obama to demonstrate that he is a strong, effective leader.

The Advertising

Elizabeth Wilner, at Kantor Media, and the Cook Political Report have reported data about advertising that I do not recall having seen after any previous election.

  • More than 800 advertisers bought TV advertising in U.S Senate and House races in 2012
  • 195 different advertisers bought TV time in U.S. Senate races
  • 615 different advertisers bought TV time in U.S. House races

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