Who won the popular vote in the 2012 election? The final ballots are still being counted, but the most recent tallies give President Obama a comfortable lead of 60,193,076 (50.4) to 57,468,587 (48.1 percent)), according to the Huffington Post.
The 2012 president election marked a significant decline in voters from 2008, when Obama soundly beat McCain in the popular vote with 69 millions votes to the republican candidates 59 million. According to PolicyMic, 13 million eligible Americans chose not to vote on Tuesday for a variety of reasons.
While swing states like Ohio and Florida saw extremely high voter turnout, states all-but guaranteed to go either blue or red (like NY and Texas) saw a lower voter turnout, likely thanks to the fact that these regions were largely overlooked by the candidates throughout the campaign.
Based on current tallies when compared to 2008's popular vote, a large number of Obama supporters from the previous election either stayed home out of disappointment with the president's first term, or even switched sides and voted Republican.
In fact, when comparing popular vote tallies, Obama is actually the biggest loser in 2012, down almost 10 million votes from 2008, while Mitt Romney was dow just three million votes from McCain's numbers. In fact, if Romney had been able to maintain McCain's numbers he would have been Obama in the popular vote, and maybe in the electoral system as well.
The only real popular vote winner this year may have been Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who won 1,139,562 votes (twice the number won by 2008 Libertarian candidate Bob Barr), according to UPI.com.
However, Johnson only managed to grab a little less than two percent of the popular vote, a far cry from the five percent he had campaign for, and that would win his party official recognition in the next election. The Libertarian's did draw record numbers of votes in several swing states, possibly taking those votes away from Romney.
Although the popular vote holds no sway over who becomes president, it is an important indicator of national mood. Situations in which the electoral college loser gets the popular vote can leave the majority of voting Americans feeling cheated, and possibly lead to national instability, as some feared might happen if Romney won the popular vote but still lost the election.
The last time this occurred was in 2000, during a gruelingly close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. In an election plague with particularly low turnout Gore and running-mate Lieberman won the popular vote by just 500,000 votes at 50.9 million, but still lost the election in a drawn out recount process.
In 2004, John Kerry lost the popular vote to George W. Bush by three million, but lost the election by just thousands of votes in Ohio.
Early during election night Romney was in fact leading in the popular vote, although many networks called key swing state Ohio for Obama early on. However, once the heavily liberal West Coast was tallied it became clear that Obama had held onto the national majority of votes.