November 7, 2012
After $6 billion in campaign spending and a barrage of political ads
in an election that hinged largely on jobs and the economy and which
will impact a wide variety of public policy issues important to the
retail industry, Americans woke up this morning to a familiar
government. President Obama won a clear victory over former
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, with a 50-48 percent lead in the
popular vote and a total of 303-206 electoral votes, but voters left
While some news organizations reported slightly conflicting numbers this morning, the New York Times said Republicans retained their majority in the House 232-191 while Democrats remained in control of the Senate 52-45. Some races remain undecided but are not expected to affect the majority in either chamber.
While Obama's win was decisive, it was built on slim majorities in
just a handful of battleground states, and Obama is the first president
reelected since Woodrow Wilson with a smaller margin in the Electoral
College than his first-term election. Out of more than 120 million votes
cast, the final margin of victory hinged on fewer than 360,000 votes in
Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Virginia.
As a status-quo election, it is difficult to discern a clear message
from the results. The narrow nature of Obama's reelection margin
suggests more of a validation of his campaign strategy than a
vindication of his first term policies, and House and Senate leadership
are likely to return to familiar scripts in the next session of
Down the ballot, Senate Democrats defended their majority thanks to
strong recruits in open-seat races and a series of self-inflicted wounds
among Republican Senate candidates.