Graphic Design Editor
After perhaps one of the most important presidential elections of the past few decades, President Barack Obama was reelected as the 44th President of the United States of America late Tuesday night. As Obama celebrates his reelection, he will look to expand many of his policies from his first term throughout his second term in the Oval Office.
Obama pulled away with the electoral vote with 303 compared to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 206. In addition, Obama won the popular vote with 60,098,523 while Romney came away with 57,424,191. As many predicted, the race was fairly close, and there has been considerable conversation following Election Day. According to many poll analysts, one of the most important states for Obama to win was Ohio, which he was able to secure by a small margin. In addition, Obama’s victories in the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida played instrumental roles in his reelection.
According to Michael DiMaio, a senior Political Science major at the University of Connecticut, the economy played a major factor in the Presidential Election.
“More than any other issue, the 2012 Presidential Election has hinged on the state of the economy,” DiMaio said. “Challenger Mitt Romney cast himself as a pro-business candidate and criticized President Barack Obama’s management of the nation’s economy. President Obama, meanwhile, emphasized the gradual growth of the economy and portrayed Governor Romney as out to help the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”
With economy as the election’s backdrop, Obama pushed for an increase on taxes for the wealthy in order to increase revenue and advocated maintaining taxes on the middle class. In addition, he emphasized “Obamacare”, formerly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
During many presidential debates over the past few months, Romney argued against Obama’s economic policies.
“As the former CEO of Bain Capital, Governor Romney emphasized his business background as the expertise necessary to improve the state of the economy,” DiMaio said. “He sought to lower tax rates across the board, including wealthier taxpayers. He argued that lowering taxes for the top income earners is necessary for creating job growth in the economy, and stated that increases on their taxes would slow down the economy.”
Other key issues that the two candidates differed on during the election included foreign policy, immigration laws, and individuals’ liberties, such as women’s contraceptives and gay rights.
While it will be unclear as to the exact reasons why Obama won the 2012 Election, there are already many speculations. According to DiMaio, there may have been three reasons that Obama edged out his challenger, Romney.
“One explanation is that President Obama ran a better campaign than that of Mr. Romney,” DiMaio said. “Much has been written about regarding President Obama’s ground efforts to turn out the vote in the battleground states, but especially Ohio. Specifically, the number of field offices that each candidate has is a number that has been referred to frequently.
“Another aspect of the campaign which may have had an effect was the campaign advertisements. Although both campaigns inundated the airwaves with ads regularly, President Obama may have been more successful in casting the image of Governor Romney as out of touch with Midwestern concerns.”
A second factor may have been the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on the Northeast, which “effectively froze the presidential campaigns, and stopped Governor Romney’s momentum,” DiMaio said.
After the second and third presidential debates, Romney appeared to have climbed back in the polls. However, the national attention may have been rerouted from the election to hurricane relief efforts, thus stalling Romney’s apparent momentum. Moreover, President Obama’s actions to handle the disaster may have won over many undecided voters.
A third and final reason that may have led to Obama’s victory had to do with the electorate’s view of the current economy.
“A third possible explanation is that enough of the electorate saw the economy as improving for the President to win reelection,” DiMaio said. “The unemployment rate finally dropped to 7.8 percent in September and slightly higher at 7.9 percent in October for the first time below 8 percent since January 2009. While by no means substantially below the 8 percent mark, it may have been enough to move fringe voters towards President Obama’s column.”
DiMaio noted that these factors may not have been key reasons for Obama’s victory, and that there will surely be conversations regarding the election in the upcoming months.
“Alternatively, none of these factors may have been the primary reason for the Obama victory. It is certainly worth noting that while President Obama was able to win somewhat substantially in the Electoral College, the margin in the popular vote was much closer. Picking a reason for the Obama victory as the main reason may be overstating his win, as with changes of a few percent points in the swing states, Governor Romney could have won the election.
“Nevertheless, it is clear that Barack Obama has been reelected for four more years as President of the United States, and with the same overall makeup of the legislature, the policies featured in his first time will likely be expanded throughout his second term in the White House,” DiMaio concluded
Michael DiMaio is a senior Political Science major at the University of Connecticut and The SC Student would like to thank him for his insightful input to this election. He may be reached at Mike.DiMaio@Uconn.edu