The 2012 Margin

In a post that begins with confirmation that yes, Mitt Romney will wind up with 47% of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential election, Slate‘s David Weigel makes a couple of other points about Obama’s margin of victory that are worth noting:

– Obama’s margin over Romney is up to 4.4 million votes.

– There’s no state where the margin between Romney and Obama could have been erased by a switch of third party votes. Florida comes close, but the margin is about 15,000 votes greater than the total vote for all third parties.

– The effect of GOTV efforts is sizable, worth millions of votes. Overall, in swing states targeted by both campaigns, the raw vote decreased by only 0.22 percent. In other states, it fell by 4.34 percent. (The outlier in this latter group: Utah, up 6.12 percent for the first election with a Mormon candidate.

Although it was a close election, the final numbers for 2012 make revisionist histories about how the fluttering of butterfly wings might have changed everything a bit harder than in some recent contests.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.