The race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was decided in just a few ultra-competitive states that could have gone either way. Had Romney won these states he would be President-elect Romney today. There is precedent for this kind of near victory despite a popular vote loss. In 2004 John Kerry was less than 120,000 votes in Ohio from winning an Electoral College victory over George Bush despite losing the popular vote by nearly the same margin as Romney (50% – 48%).
Here are the states and the vote difference (in Obama’s favor) between the two candidates:
State – Vote Differential (Electoral Votes)
Virginia – 110,341 (13)
Ohio – 100,142 (18)
Florida – 47,016 (29)
New Mexico – 76,222 (6)
Those totals are current as we publish, but could change slightly in the next few days. It’s also worth noting that Iowa (88,501 vote differential, 6 EV’s) could be used instead of New Mexico and still be under 350,000 total vote differential.
Out of a total of over 120 million votes, Barack Obama’s real margin of victory over Mitt Romney was 333,721 votes.
This data is important in framing the discussion of both how Obama won and how Romney lost. I intend to explore a variety of theories in separate posts over the coming days.