United States presidential election, 2012
The Presidential Election 2012 is on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. No incumbent has won reelection in the past 70 years with unemployment above 7.2%; reported unemployment is at 7.9% (and real unemployment much higher).
Obama was leading in the polls by a substantial margin until the first presidential debate, which Romney won by the widest margin every recorded by Gallup polling. Afterward the race became a statistical tie in polling.
This election will be like either the election of 1980, when a large bloc of undecided voters moved to the socially conservative challenger (Ronald Reagan) in the last few weeks, or the election of 1948, when the RINO Thomas Dewey was unable to attract grassroots voters despite the unpopularity of Harry Truman and the deteriorating economy.
A handful of swing states are expected to select the winner.
|Issue or Factor||Mitt Romney||Barack Obama||Comment|
|Social issues||Romney has downplayed social issues, but supports defunding Planned Parenthood and would likely nominate more conservative judges.||Obama is vocally pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage, and pro-homosexual agenda.||As with Tom Dewey's loss in 1948, Romney's running away from social issues could cost him the election.|
|Economic issues||Romney favors free enterprise, low taxes, and personal responsibility.||Obama says he inherited the crisis from Republicans.||The advantage here is Romney's.|
|Leadership||Romney was head of Bain Capital, was Governor of Massachusetts and led the 2002 Olympics.||Obama took advantage of Hurricane Sandy to create an impression that he was a competent leader, but, a week after the storm, its effects are still being felt.||Both candidates have proven leadership skills, but Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy is being celebrated by the liberal press.|
|Likability||Romney's likability rating stands at only 31%, and has been lower.||Obama's likability rating is at 48%.||Advantage to Obama.|
|Debates||Romney is a good debater.||Obama struggles without a teleprompter, but will benefit from liberal moderators.||Advantage to Romney.|
|VPs||Paul Ryan has youth, energy, and likability, but is part of the Big Government Republican leadership in Congress, which has an ultra-low approval rating; Romney has been criticized for not using Ryan more effectively in the campaign.||Joe Biden is a gaffe-prone goofball, but is protected by the liberal media.||Toss-up here, or maybe a slight edge to Ryan.|
|Fundraising||Mitt did not to be as strong a fundraiser as expected, nor were the Super PACs effective on his side; some of their comments to the press, like Karl Rove criticizing Todd Akin, were actually hurtful.||Limousine liberals have donated millions to Obama's reelection, and once again the Dems outspend the Republicans.||Advantage to Obama.|
|Gaffes/staying on message||47% of American don't pay income tax and won't vote for me/London Olympics not ready comment||"You didn't build that"||Obama has a media covering up his gaffes any way they can, but Romney has better control of his message. Advantage to Romney.|
Both campaigns have focused on key battleground states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia. A CNN summary of poll of likely voters taken just before the first debate had Obama leading Romney in Florida, 47% to 46%, in Virginia 48% to 46% and in Ohio 52% to 43%.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is sponsoring four debates. Although many candidates will appear on the ballot in some states, the Commission is limiting participation in the debates to just candidates that appear on enough states to be mathematically eligible to win the presidency. Candidates also must gain at least 15% support in five national polls as of the date of determination, to be some time after Labor Day 2012. The debates are:
- Wednesday October 3: The first presidential debate took place at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, moderated by Jim Lehrer
- Thursday October 11: The vice-presidential debate took place at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News
- Tuesday October 16: The second presidential debate (with a town-hall meeting format) took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN.
- Monday October 22: The third and final presidential debate on foreign policy took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.
An independent presidential debate, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and moderated by former CNN host Larry King, took place on October 23, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. President Obama and Governor Romney declined invitations, while Johnson, Goode, Stein and Anderson participated. A second independent debate is scheduled to take place on October 30 in Washington, D.C.
With record-low support for either major party candidate, this could be a year when minor parties do unusually well.
|Constitution Party||Virgil Goode||Popular ex-Congressman from Virginia who had previously won election as a Democrat, Independent, and Republican. Joined the Constitution Party in 2010. Opposes illegal immigration and calls for a reduction in legal immigration as well. Won the Constitution Party nomination for president in April on the first ballot.|
|Green Party||Jill Stein||Defeated Roseanne Barr for the Green Party nomination. Criticizes Obama for allegedly perpetuating the policies of the Bush administration. Supports the Occupy Wall Street protests. Was previously the Green Party candidate in a series of elections in Massachusetts including a Gubernatorial Election against Mitt Romney (among others).|
|Justice Party||Rocky Anderson||Former mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah (2000-08)|
|Libertarian Party||Gary Johnson||The former Republican two-term governor of New Mexico, Johnson favors the fair tax, ending American military actions overseas, legalizing marijuana, expanding legal immigration and allowing same-sex marriage. Given Ron Paul's libertarian campaign for the Republican nomination and the exclusion of Johnson from most of the debates, there was little room for Johnson as a Republican this election cycle. He won the Libertarian Party nomination on May 5, 2012.|
|Peace and Freedom Party||Roseanne Barr||Comedienne and former TV actress|
|Party for Socialism and Liberation||Peta Lindsay||Student and anti-war activist (not even constitutionally qualified to serve as president - less than 35 years of age)|
|America's Party||Tom Hoefling|
|Objectivist Party||Tom Stevens|
|Socialist Workers Party||James Harris|
|Socialist Party USA||Stewart Alexander|
|American Third Position Party||Merlin Miller||White Nationalist Party|
|Grass Roots Party||Jim Carlson|
|Freedom Socialist Party||Stephen Durham|
|Prohibition Party||Jack Fellure|
|Socialist Equality Party||Jerry White|
- The economy grew less than predicted in the first quarter, and "the last time the economy was this slow was in the last year of President George H.W. Bush’s one term in office" - who then lost reelection.  The September 7 labor report observed, "Just 63.5% of the working-age population was either employed or actively looking for work -- a 30-year low." 
- Felicia Sonmez and David Fahrenthold. "In GOP recipe, too little Ryan for conservatives' taste", Washington Post, September 25, 2012, p. A1.
- "Are Romney's '47 percent' comments beginning to move the polls?", Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on September 25, 2012.
- Linda Feldmann. "Mitt Romney gaffes: 11 times the button-down candidate should have buttoned up", Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved on September 25, 2012.
- Jim Acosta. "Romney trip begins in shambles", CNN, July 27, 2012. Retrieved on September 25, 2012.
- Steinhauser, Paul. "New polls in crucial battlegrounds", October 3, 2012. Retrieved on October 4, 2012.
- "Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Sites, Dates, and Candidate Selection Criteria for 2012 General Election", Commission on Presidential Debates.
- "2012 Candidate Selection Criteria", Commission on Presidential Debates.
- Kiely, Kathy (October 31, 2011). Fall 2012 Presidential Debates Set. National Journal. Retrieved on October 12, 2012.
- Blake, Aaron (August 13, 2012) "Presidential debate moderators announced: Crowley is first woman in 20 years", The Washington Post. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Little, Morgan (July 25, 2012) "Presidential debate formats announced, feature town hall", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Third-party candidates finally get their on presidential debate washingtonpost.com, Groer, Annie
- Another third-party debate in the works washingtonpost.com, Hicks, Josh