This is part one of a four-part series on empirical reasons why Democratic incumbent Barack Obama won the presidential election over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Part one will deal with Obama’s dominance with swing states. Up next is his control of the changing electoral demographics. See part 2, part 3, and part 4.
For months, Americans heard incessantly about the importance of “swing states.”
Ohio, Florida, Nevada and others–both Obama and Romney’s campaign focused heavily on these states throughout the past year, touring college campuses and large convention halls, opening campaign offices in large and small cities alike and rolling bus tours through the foothills and highways.
Ohio may have been considered the “most important,” but here were eight battleground states throughout the United States listed by CNN. We’ll also include North Carolina which was considered a swing state by other news outlets. Listed in parenthesis are their electoral counts:
Ohio (18), New Hampshire (4), Florida (29), Nevada (6), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (6), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13) and Colorado (9).
Here’s the results:
Ohio (18) – Obama – 50%-48%
New Hampshire (4) – Obama – 52%-46%
Florida (29) – Obama – 50-49%
Nevada (6) – Obama – 52%-46%
Wisconsin (10) – Obama – 53%-46%
Iowa (6) – Obama – 52%-46%
North Carolina (15) – Romney – 51%-48%
Virginia (13) – Obama – 51%-48%
Colorado (9) – Obama – 51%-47%
President Obama won a commanding eight of nine projected swing states. Of those nine, Obama picked up 95 electoral votes to Romney’s 15.
Obama ended with 332 electoral votes and Romney 206. A candidate needs just 270 to win, meaning that had a couple of those states, particularly Florida, Ohio and Virginia gone the other way, Romney would be the president-elect today.
Why did he win the swing states?
Simply put, the Obama campaign had a significantly stronger grassroots campaign in these states. Here’s a comparison of campaign offices:
Ohio – Obama (131 offices), Romney (39).
Florida – Obama (104 offices), Romney (47)
Iowa – Obama (67 offices), Romney (11).
And this pattern continues with many, many other states. Obama had a greater presence on the ground in each of these states. Even though both candidates campaigned in these states heavily, Obama’s campaign outnumbered the Republicans in terms of volunteers, campaign offices and grassroots efforts.
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