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:

Two hundred and seventy 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 US 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 States

The 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, then wins the favor of the whole state and 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’s
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.

Once 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 parties

Obama → 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 Elections

Before the election:

a presidential election – a presidential election

a presidential campaign
presidential campaign

to run for – faire campagne

to take a poll – faire un sondage

an opinion poll – an

measure 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

register on the 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