The American elections in 2012


November 6, 2012

– @BarackObama tweets “This happened because of you. Thank you.”

– CNN announces the presidential election results “to New Yorkers and the world” on the Empire State Building: Barack Obama is re-elected.

– Obama sends the most retweeted and famous tweet of 2012: 700,000 retweets in 14 hours.

Analysis of results:

270 votes were needed to become president.

Barack Obama gathered 303 votes against 206 for Mitt Romney.

These are:

93% of African-Americans

71% of Hispanics

60% of those under 29

60% of those earning less than
54% of women.

The statistics are

Barack Obama won thanks to
the massive vote of minorities, especially African-Americans (13.6% of the population, 2nd largest ethnic group) and Hispanics (14% of the population, 3rd largest group).

Geographical distribution: see detailed results on the diagram at the end of the article

The election of the United States Congress:

In addition to the election of the
the United States also votes for a new composition of its Congress
Congress, the country’s legislative body.

Congress is composed of two houses:

– The U.S. House of Representatives: 232 Republicans to 191 Democrats.

Republicans dominate the House of Representatives
representatives, but lost 2 seats.
– Senate: 54 Democrats to 45 Republicans

Democrats dominate the Senate and gained 1 seat.

The Democrats emerged victorious in the election.

Presidential elections in the United StatesThe

election is held every 4 years.

There are 50 American states.

For each US state:

– There are Great Electors.

– The American people elect
these electors.

– These electors are
numerous: between 3 and 55 (the bigger the state, the more electors there are)

– These electors will have to elect the president of the United States, they have indicated for whom they will vote.

For each state :
– Once these electors are elected, we establish
statistics in each state: how many electors will vote for each
will vote for each candidate
– The candidate who leads this count in the state
the state, then wins the favor of the whole state and all the electors
all the electors: “winner-takes-all”

For example:
among the Great
voters in California, 59% voted for Obama, only 39% for Romney
for Romney. Result: all the votes are converted for the winner, Obama
winner, Obama, who wins 100% of the votes.

all states :

– All states included,
there are a total of
538 electors.
– To win, the candidate must receive
a majority of the electors: 270
Congress: (direct vote)

Two assemblies:

– The House of Representatives of the
House of Representatives: all members are renewed every two years.
– The Senate: only one-third of the members are renewed.

Elections are held every two years on Election Day: the Tuesday following the first Monday in November
monday of November.

1 time out of 2, the elections fall at the same time
presidential elections, otherwise this day is called “mid-term elections”.

2 candidates from 2 dominant political partiesObama

→ Democrats: from
More “supportive” economic system,

Romney → Republicans (also called Grand
Old Party): right-wing
More capitalist economic system,

This representation is
nuanced: in
France, we would consider :
Democrats: center-right

Republicans: hard right

The other
With very little influence, these candidates are from weak political parties, or independents.
There were 13 of them in 2012.

English Vocabulary about ElectionsBefore

the election:

a presidential election
presidential election – a presidential election

a presidential campaign
– a
presidential campaign

to run for – faire campagne

to take a poll – faire un sondage

an opinion poll – an

measure a popularity – to
measure a

the Republican Party – the
Republican Party

the Democratic Party – the

to be left-wing – to be left-wing

to be right-wing – to be

le premier tour – the first

the second round – the
second round,
the run-off

During the
elections :

register on the electoral lists
electoral lists
– to register

s’abstenir – to abstain

vote – to vote

elect – to elect

to go to the polls – to go to
the polls

a polling station – a
un scrutin- a ballot

a candidacy – a
candidacy, a

a ballot slip – a
ballot slip

a blank bulletin – un bulletin blanc

After the elections :

the Congress :

→ the Senate – the

→ the House of
representatives –
the House of Representatives

Articles to read for practice

prepare effectively for the Sciences Po exams, nothing beats the

practice. Here is a selection of articles that could be useful for

sciences Po exams this year.

The New York Times:

Obama Wins a Resounding
but the balance of power in Washington remains unchanged:

The Washington Post

At Romney headquarters, the
defeat of the 1%:

The Economist:

A Divided Country