2012 Presidential Election Night Scorecard

by Andrea Levien // Published November 2, 2012

In 2005, FairVote issued its first comprehensive report on presidential elections using our measure of state partisanship, The Shrinking Battleground, which in 2006 was published in tandem with other reports in Presidential Election Inequality.

This analysis provides the foundation for our critique of our current Electoral College system. It makes a convincing case that the number of "swing states" is declining and their definition is becoming more rigid - a pattern that has only been reinforced by elections in 2008 and this year.

We have made use of a key element of this analysis to help those interested in Tuesday's election to predict its ultimate outcome using the vote-margin in each state on election night. We show each state's Republican partisanship for 2004 and 2008 - that is, a projection of the vote share the Republican nominee for president would have won that year if the national popular vote had been an exact tie.

We have set up a blank space on the right of the chart below where you can write the percentage by which news sources are reporting the candidates are winning in each state. Compare this margin with the "2012 benchmark" provided in the chart below, which should be used to give you an idea of whether a candidate is doing better in a state than expected. The more that one candidate is surpassing their benchmark, the more likely it is that this candidate will win the national popular vote and win the election.

Of course, there are no guarantees that the national popular vote winner will in fact win the election. For that determination, we have bolded the eleven most important swing states in this election, since the candidates' performance in these particular states will be the most telling for who will win a majority in the Electoral College.

 

In 2005, FairVote issued its first comprehensive report on presidential elections using our measure of state partisanship, The Shrinking Battleground, which in 2006 was published in tandem with other reports in Presidential Election Inequality.

This analysis provides the foundation for our critique of our current Electoral College system. It makes a convincing case that the number of "swing states" is declining and their definition is becoming more rigid - a pattern that has only been reinforced by elections in 2008 and this year.

We have made use of a key element of this analysis to help those interested in Tuesday's election to predict its ultimate outcome using the vote-margin in each state on election night. We show each state's Republican partisanship for 2004 and 2008 - that is, a projection of the vote share the Republican nominee for president would have won that year if the national popular vote had been an exact tie.

We have set up a blank space on the right of the chart below where you can write the percentage by which news sources are reporting the candidates are winning in each state. Compare this margin with the "2012 benchmark" provided in the chart below, which should be used to give you an idea of whether a candidate is doing better in a state than expected. The more that one candidate is surpassing their benchmark, the more likely it is that this candidate will win the national popular vote and win the election.

Of course, there are no guarantees that the national popular vote winner will in fact win the election. For that determination, we have bolded the eleven most important swing states in this election, since the candidates' performance in these particular states will be the most telling for who will win a majority in the Electoral College.

 

States

2004 GOP 
Partisanship

2008 GOP 
Partisanship

2012 Benchmark

Actual Vote Margin on Election Night

Alabama

61.6%

64.4%

Romney wins by 28.8%,

 

___________

Alaska

61.5%

64.4%

Romney wins by 28.8%

 

___________

Arizona

54.0%

57.9%

Romney wins by 15.8%

 

___________

Arkansas

53.6%

63.6%

Romney wins by 27.1%

 

___________

California

43.8%

41.6%

Obama wins by 16.8%

 

___________

Colorado 

51.1%

49.2%

Obama wins by 1.7% 

 

___________

Connecticut

43.6%

42.5%

Obama wins by 15.1%

 

___________

Delaware

45.0%

41.1%

Obama wins by 17.7%

 

___________

Dist. of Columbia

8.8%

10.7%

Obama wins by 78.7%

 

___________

Florida

51.3%

52.2%

Romney wins by 4.5%

 

___________

Georgia

57.1%

56.2%

Romney wins by 12.5%

 

___________

Hawaii

44.4%

31.0%

Obama wins by 38.0%

 

___________

Idaho

67.8%

66.3%

Romney wins by 32.7%

 

___________

Illinois

43.6%

41.1%

Obama wins by 17.9%

 

___________

Indiana

59.1%

53.1%

Obama wins by 6.2%

 

___________

Iowa

49.1%

48.9%

Obama wins by 2.3%

 

___________

Kansas

61.5%

61.1%

Romney wins by 22.2%

 

___________

Kentucky

58.7%

61.8%

Romney wins by 23.5%

 

___________

Louisiana

56.0%

63.0%

Romney wins by 25.9%

 

___________

Maine

44.3%

45.0%

Obama wins by 10.0%

 

___________

Maryland

42.3%

40.9%

Obama wins by 18.2%

 

___________

Massachusetts

36.2%

40.7%

Obama wins by 18.5%

 

___________

Michigan

47.1%

45.4%

Obama wins by 9.2%

 

___________

Minnesota

47.0%

48.5%

Obama wins by 3.0%

 

___________

Mississippi

58.6%

60.2%

Romney wins by 20.4%

 

___________

Missouri

52.4%

53.7%

Romney wins by 7.4%

 

___________

Montana

59.0%

54.8%

Romney wins by 9.5%

 

___________

Nebraska

65.4%

61.1%

Romney wins by 22.2%

 

___________

Nevada

50.1%

47.4%

Obama wins by 5.2%

 

___________

New Hampshire

48.1%

48.8%

Obama wins by 2.3%

 

___________

New Jersey

45.4%

45.9%

Obama wins by 8.3%

 

___________

New Mexico

49.2%

46.1%

Obama wins by 7.9%

 

___________

New York

39.6%

40.2%

Obama wins by 19.6%

 

___________

North Carolina

55.0%

53.5%

Romney wins by 6.9%

 

___________

North Dakota

62.4%

58.0%

Romney wins by 15.9%

 

___________

Ohio

49.8%

51.3%

Romney wins by 2.7%

 

___________

Oklahoma

64.3%

69.3%

Romney wins by 38.6%

 

___________

Oregon

46.7%

45.5%

Obama wins by 9.1%

 

___________

Pennsylvania

47.5%

48.5%

Obama wins by 3.0%

 

___________

Rhode Island

38.4%

39.7%

Obama wins by 20.5%

 

___________

South Carolina

57.3%

58.1%

Romney wins by 16.2%

 

___________

South Dakota

59.5%

57.8%

Romney wins by 15.7%

 

___________

Tennessee

55.9%

61.2%

Romney wins by 22.3%

 

___________

Texas

60.2%

59.5%

Romney wins by 19.0%

 

___________

Utah

71.5%

67.7%

Romney wins by 35.5%

 

___________

Vermont

38.7%

35.1%

Obama wins by 29.7%

 

___________

Virginia

52.9%

50.5%

Romney wins by 1.0%

 

___________

Washington

45.2%

45.0%

Obama wins by 9.9%

 

___________

West Virginia

55.2%

60.2%

Romney wins by 20.4%

 

___________

Wisconsin

48.6%

46.7%

Obama wins by 6.6%

 

___________

Wyoming

68.7%

69.8%

Romney wins by 39.5%

 

___________