Barack Obama's re-election to another four-year term as the 44th president of the United States was no surprise, at least to Democrats and denizens of liberal news organizations. But for a solid month -- both nationally and in the highly contested battleground states -- the race was virtually tied.
It didn't end in a tie, however. Despite the closeness of the national popular vote, Obama and Joe Biden eked out victories over Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the hotly contested states of New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and (though not yet officially) Florida, giving Democrats a 100-vote cushion in the Electoral College. In the end, after both sides waged the most expensive campaign in U.S. history, all Romney did was flip two states, Indiana and North Carolina, from Obama’s 2008 column into his own.
It wasn’t nearly enough, but the Republican ticket’s razor-thin losses in those battleground states indicate that this outcome was not foreordained. And as Al Gore and George W. Bush learned in 2000, if you win -- or lose -- a race this close, there are a hundred pivot points that explain the result.
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