Who got it most wrong?
The day after election day is, of course, the day for recriminations â€“ both among the losing side and towards those who got their predictions wrong.
Dick Morris currently appears to be winning the informal competition for who got it most wrong, based on his 5 November "special Presidential Election video commentary" where he discusses his prediction â€” "a big Romney win!"
Honourable mention also to Peggy Noonan for a Wall Street Journal column on the same day in which she said believed the American people were quietly cooking up a Romney win.
â€¢ This blog is now ending. Click here for Tom McCarthy‘s continuing coverage of the aftermath and analysis of the result.
Page 2 for a Romney win, page 3 for Obama …
Here is the front page of Le Soir, one of the have-it-both ways Belgian newspapers mentioned earlier
Thanks to reader Edward Mi for sending a link to this image.
From Australia, to China, Egypt and Russia … hear people say "Obama" in different accents … and watch some of them offer their more in-depth assessment of his second presidential election win
Election 2012: the Republican aftermath
Simon Tisdall has a piece on Comment is free looking at what the result means for the Republicans. In short, the party needs to change. Romney moderated his positions as election day approached, Tisdall argues, but the "Tea Party zealots, the radical evangelicals, the homophobes, the misogynists" had already scuppered his chances.
Romney proved a better man than his party deserved. He went up in most people’s estimation during the campaign. He was gracious in defeat …
But presidential politics is a cruel sport. The truth is, Romney is history. He no longer leads the Republican party, if he ever did. He lost, and though he lost well, he will quickly be pushed aside.
All the same, GOP managers and strategists would do well to take stock of his legacy. The big lesson for Republicans from this election is that extremism does not pay.
"Obama-ism" circa 2012 does not mean liberalism, immorality or Godless socialism. Obamaland is where the decent, hard-working open-minded middle lives.
There are no signs, yet at least, that Republicans are ready to adjust to the change.
Related, a post on Outside the Beltway (a blog that claims a strong belief in free trade, limited government and respect for human rights – make of that what you will) perhaps goes too far in declaring "centre-right" America no longer exists, but also argues the Republicans need to adjust to a new middle:
President Obama easily won re-election last night, carrying virtually all of the battleground states. Meanwhile, abortion, gay marriage, and recreational marijuana also won big …
Itâ€™s an electorate thatâ€™s inexorably becoming less friendly to a Republican message that hasnâ€™t changed since 1980. Romney would have won the 1980 electorate in a landslide; he needed everything to go his way to win in this one.
Bachmann projected winner in tight House race
CNN has called the tight House race in Minnesota’s 6th district for incumbent (and Tea Party champion) Michele Bachmann â€“ who raised her national profile in the Republican presidential primaries, though clearly not to the liking of every voter in her district.
With 99.29% of precincts reporting, Bachmann is 1.03% ahead of her Democratic rival Jim Graves. Minnesota law only requires a recount if there is less than 0.5% between candidates.
The race for the 6th district was the most expensive of the 435 House races, with the candidates raising a total of .7m and spent .8m of it by mid-October. Most of it went via Bachmann â€“ she outspent Graves by more than 12 to one.
Fitch, Obama and the ‘fiscal cliff’
Business blogger Graeme Weardon has taken a break from the Greek austerity bill to look at one item that will be in Obama’s in-tray.
Credit ratings agency Fitch has declared this morning that Obama cannot expect a "fiscal honeymoon". It warned that it could downgrade America in 2013 unless the White House delivers a "credible" plan to tackle the US debts.
Fitch urged Obama to swiftly find a solution to the ‘fiscal cliff’ – the clutch of tax rises and spending cuts which automatically kick in early next year. He also faces another fight over the debt ceiling, it added. Fitch currently rates America as AAA (the highest rating), but with a negative outlook.
What the papers say (Belgian edition)
The Associated Press has a report on some of the solutions from Belgian newspapers to the age-old problem of how to cover an election after the presses have stopped rolling.
Het Laastste Nieuws produced two front pages Wednesday, asking readers to "pick your cover." One was headlined "It’s Obama" while another, folded inside, read "It’s Romney." Both had profiles of the winner and analysis.
By the time newspaper stands opened, readers knew the outcome and could remove the wrong one.
De Morgen cut its front page in half, with one side saying "Mitt Romney President" and the other "Barack Obama President." On the Romney side it said "Please turn quickly if Obama is the winner."
Le Soir’s front page screamed "Obama," followed on the left with "Has Lost read page 2" and on the right "Has Won read page 3."
We’ll post pictures if we can get them. Some things need to be seen.
What the papers say
Iâ€™ve just nipped down to Grand Central Station to get hold of the morning papers. As expected, theyâ€™re a riot of puns â€“ except for the New York Times, which is as sober as a judge.
The New York Daily News goes with â€œDOUBLE BAMMY: Obama rocks Romney to win 2nd term."
The New York Post prefers: "BARACK 4 MORE: Prez takes key states to win second term."
And the New York Times declares it "OBAMA’S NIGHT: TOPS ROMNEY FOR 2ND TERM IN BRUISING RUN; DEMOCRATS TURN BACK GOP BID FOR SENATE."
Results still to come
Unofficial results from the Florida department of state put Obama on 49.85% of the vote against 49.29% for Romney. That’s obviously very close, though it would not affect the overall result whichever way the state’s 29 electoral college votes fall when certified.
In North Dakota, the figures in the Senate race with 100% of precincts reporting are 50.25% for Heidi Heitkamp (D) against 49.31% for Rick Berg (R). The secretary of state’s department there is cautioning there could be a recount demand.
The final Senate race still to declare is in Montana, where there is a three-point difference between the candidates with just under 60% of precincts reporting. That may take a while to come.
The Hill has a breakdown of Houses races too close to call.
Olympic levels of schadenfreude
Some murmurs in the UK twittersphere that the London Olympics went rather better than Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. It all goes back to his pre-Games visit to London and what he described to NBC as "disconcerting" signs about the preparations.
If there is hope, it lies in the polls
My colleague Harry J Enten wrote a very persuasive piece before the election about how despite the conventional wisdom seeing the election as too close to call, the swing state polling was consistently showing leads for Obama. So, unless the polls were all flawed, Obama would win. And that’s what happened.
The election campaign was notable for a divide between pundits talking about their gut instinct and those trusting the numbers. Reader sibusisodan points us to this amusing cartoon that encapsulates how justifiably smug many of the numbers crowd may be feeling today.
Of course, polls can be wrong, and systematic bias is quite possible – think of the phenomenon of "shy Tories" in the UK. Before the result came in tonight, I heard some pundits on CNN discussing whether a similar phenomenon of "reticent Republicans" might exist in the US. It didn’t really ring true. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Republican who was remotely reticent.
First all-female delegation in New Hampshire
Not clear yet whether this is enough women to qualify as a "binder" (Mitt Romney may be the only who really understands how the collective noun works, it is his after all) but New Hampshire’s two seats in the House of Representatives and two seats in the Senate are now occupied by women â€“ the first time a US state has sent an all-female delegation to Washington.
The on-the-night winners were Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster, who won their House races for the Democrats, joining senators Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the state delegation.
Another female winner was Maggie Hassan, who becomes New Hampshire’s governor-elect. Politico makes the following observation
It’s an important milestone on its own, but also particularly interesting because of the role New Hampshire plays in the presidential nominating process, and the very real sense in both parties that it’s past time for a female presidential nominee
With over 90% of the votes counted, Obama seems to be pulling away somewhat in the popular vote. He now has 58,151,846 votes to Romney’s 56,120,865.
By comparison, in 2008 Obama polled 69,456,897 votes to John McCain’s 59,934,814.
My colleagues on the picture desk are running this rolling blog of the best photographs from election night.
Help us map a global response to the US election. Click here to describe your reaction to the election and tell us why.
Gay marriage ban rejected in Minnesota
Minnesota’s proposed same-sex marriage amendment, which sought to define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, has been defeated. Gay marriage remains illegal in Minnesota (the amendment sought to make it harder for the courts or state legislature to ever change that) but marriage equality campaigners are seeing the vote as a big win â€“ Minnesota was the first state ever put such a constitutional ban on gay marriage on the ballot paper.
That result joins Tammy Baldwin’s Senate win and Maine and Maryland becoming the first US states to approve gay marriage by popular vote (the seventh and eighth in total to allow it) in what looks to have been a good night for LGBT Americans.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most interesting Twitter reaction to the election results:
The Senate and the House
Alongside the Obama White House, two other parts of the American political landscape that will be the same after the election as they were before it are the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-majority House of Representatives â€“ ie, a split Congress.
The Democrats had a good night in the Senate. Edward Kennedy’s Massachusetts seat returned to the Democrats with Elizabeth Warren defeating Scott Brown, a Republican moderate who had been elected in 2010 with Tea Party support (they weren’t so keen on him this time around). Another Democratic pick-up was Indiana â€“ where Joe Donnelly beat Richard Mourdock, though those looking to analyse the race further may look back to the Republican primary when Mourdock, a Tea Party favourite, defeated veteran moderate Richard Lugar … and then went on to describe pregnancy resulting from rape as "something that God intended to happen".
It was a similar story in Missouri, where Claire McCaskill‘s defence of her seat (once considered shaky) was made easier by her Republican challenger Todd Aikin’s comments referring to "legitimate rape". Democrats also held on to Virginia and Wisconsin (see Tammy Baldwin earlier on this blog) and put Connecticut, previously held by Democrat-voting independent Joe Lieberman, officially into their column (defeating big-spending former wrestling executive Linda McMahon along the way).
Independent Angus King took Maine from the Republicans, where Olympia Snowe, one of her party’s few remaining liberals in the Senate, was standing down. King joins Vermont’s Bernie Sanders as one of two independents in the Senate.
The big Republican breakthrough was in Nebraska, where Sarah Palin-endorsed Deb Fischer will be taking over from retiring Democratic senator Ben Nelson. The Republicans also held on to Nevada after a tight race.
Still to come are Senate races in Montana and North Dakota. If Heidi Heitkamp wins for the Democrats there it would be a huge upset as North Dakota is considered something of a red state.
In the House of Representatives, the Republicans look set to increase their lead (so not making it any easier for Obama to get bills passed) but Michele Bachmann, who you may remember from the Republican presidential primaries, appears to be in a tighter than expected finish in her district.
Reaction from around the world
David Cameron, the British prime minister, congratulated Obama on his re-election. Cameron said:
I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years. There are so many things that we need to do: we need to kick start the world economy and I want to see an EU-US trade deal.
Right here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories about what has happened inside Syria so one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.
Above all, congratulations to Barack. I’ve enjoyed working with him, I think he’s a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future.
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netenyahu, with whom Obama has had a difficult relationship, said: "I will continue working with President Obama to ensure Israel’s vital national security interests." He added: "The strategic union between Israel and the US is stronger than ever."
Defence minister Ehud Brak also congratulated Obama on his victory â€“
but seemed to predict "differences in stance":
I have no doubt that the Obama administration will continue its policy whereby Israel’s security is at its very foundations as well as its efforts to tackle the challenges facing all of us in the region; all the while continuing to strive for further progress in the peace process. I believe that in the tradition of deep friendship and with a backdrop of shared experiences accrued with President Obama, it will also be possible to overcome any differences in stance; should they arise.
(Thanks to my colleagues Polly Curtis in London and Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem.)
China’s foreign ministry said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao phoned Obama to congratulate him. Vice-president Xi Jinping, who is to begin taking over this week in China’s once-a-decade leadership transition, phoned his opposite number Joe Biden to congratulate him.
A spokesman for the main Syrian opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, expressed hope that the election victory would free Obama to do more to support those trying to oust Syrian president Bashar Assad. "We hope this victory for President Obama will make him free more to make the right decision to help freedom and dignity in Syria and all over the world," SNC spokesman George Sabra said.
The Associated Press reports that in Indonesia, where Obama lived for a time as a child, pupils at his old school marched with a poster of the president from one classroom to another shouting: "Obama wins … Obama wins again.â€
Meanwhile, in France…
Obama’s re-election victory â€“ the key points
For those around the world just catching up with the results, here are the key points so far:
â€¢ Barack Obama has been re-elected president of the US. The national polls had threatened a close race, but in the end Obama comfortably reached the figure of 271 electoral college votes necessary for him to beat Mitt Romney and begin four more years in the White House.
â€¢ The American presidency is decided through the electoral college, not the popular vote (for a full explanation see here) â€“ so far Obama has 303 electoral college votes to Romneyâ€™s 206. But the popular vote tally is much closer: with over 75% of the vote counted, Obama has 56,234,742 votes to Romneyâ€™s 54,791,207. A loss in the popular vote could severely damage the presidentâ€™s legitimacy.
â€¢ Obama was judged to have won the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin, and â€“ crucially â€“ Ohio. Romney won another swing state, North Carolina, but breakthroughs the Republicans hoped for in Pennsylvania and Michigan did not materialise. Florida remains too close to call, but Obama has a slight lead of 49.8% to 49.3% with 99% of the vote counted.
â€¢ The House of Representatives remained in Republican hands, although the Democrats had gained one seat at time of writing. The Senate remained under Democratic control, Obamaâ€™s party adding two seats and independents adding two at time of writing. The result probably heralds two more years of gridlock on Capitol Hill, although Obamaâ€™s victory speech â€“ in which he suggested he might like to work with Romney in future â€“ suggested he may make greater efforts towards bipartisanship in his second term.
â€¢ The elections were marred by voters having to queue up for long periods of time to vote in many key swing states such as Virginia, Ohio and Florida, as well as heavily Democratic New York and New Jersey. â€œWe have got to fix that,â€ Obama said in his victory speech. Watchdogs reported complaints from people turned away from polls because they did not have identification in states like Pennsylvania, where ID was not required.
Here’s the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, RT Rybak, crowdsurfing with his mother Loraine in celebration of Barack Obama’s election victory.
‘A genuine determination to get things done’
Jonathan Freedland on Obama’s "magnificent" victory speech â€“ greeted by supporters as a return to the Obama they knew from 2008:
Barack Obama gave a magnificent speech, certainly better than any he had delivered during the entire 2012 campaign. It was the speech many of his supporters had longer to hear, worlds apart from the workmanlike effort he served up at his convention in Charlotte.
Partly it was the delivery, with an energy and sharpness that suggested a genuine determination to get things done. It will allow Democrats to dream that â€“ maybe â€“ a second term Obama will be different, an Obama unbound, freed by the fact that he never needs to face the electorate again.
He laid out an agenda: â€œReducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil.â€ And he added a new item to the to-do list, suggesting he would work to fix a system of elections that saw millions of voters waiting in long lines yesterday to cast their ballots.
But Obama also made a case for politics itself, explaining what a difference it can make to people’s lives. â€œThat’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big.â€
Many Democrats who had got used to the idea of a more modest, less ambitious Obama â€“ constrained by the political realities â€“ will now allow themselves to think a little bit bigger. Hope and change may just find their way back into America’s political vocabulary.
Nate Silver at the New York Times seems confident that Obama will prevail in the popular vote. Heâ€™s ahead at the moment – but not by enough for Democrats (and democrats) to relax on that score. Silver writes:
Some networks have called the Electoral College for Barack Obama, but it will take longer before the popular vote can officially be called.
Thatâ€™s because the three Pacific Coast states â€” California, Oregon and Washington â€” conduct much of their voting by mail, yielding a lag of several days to a week before all ballots are counted.
As of 11:45 p.m., however, Mr. Obama trailed Mitt Romney by only about 150,000 votes nationally, a margin he should be able to make up on the West Coast.
As we know, Donald Trump is less sanguine about this issue:
And heâ€™s hoping the Republicans can block the presidentâ€™s second-term agenda as they have frustrated many parts of his first:
Tea party hits out at Romney
Did Romney lose because he was a â€œweak moderateâ€? The Tea Party Patriots thinks so.
Jenny Beth Martin of the group, part of the Tea Party Republican faction, responded to Obamaâ€™s victory by saying:
For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world â€” a â€˜Shining city upon a hillâ€™ â€” we wanted someone who would fight for us.
What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican party. The presidential loss is unequivocally on them.
Hello and welcome to the Guardianâ€™s continuing coverage of the US election results. Barack Obama has been re-elected president of the US after a hard-fought campaign against Mitt Romney. The national polls had threatened a close race â€“ perhaps even running for days â€“ but in the end Obama soon achieved a clear lead in the electoral college, and with it another four years as president. Stay tuned here for all the essential reaction, comment and analysis from our team of correspondents and commentators as the final results continue to come in.
So far Obama is projected to have won 303 of the 538 electoral college votes, and Mitt Romney 203.
In the popular vote, Obama is ahead by 54,151,648 to 53,353,663 â€“ but it remains a possibility that Romney could overtake him.
The Democrats have retained control of the Senate, and the Republicans have kept hold of the House of Representatives.
In his speech in Boston conceding defeat, Romney said of Obama: â€œI pray that he will be successful in guiding our nation.â€
Meanwhile, Obama told a crowd of supporters chanting â€œfour more yearsâ€ in Chicago that the American people had â€œpicked ourselves upâ€ and fought back during tough economic times, and promised: â€œThe best is yet to come.â€ He said he would meet Romney to discuss how they could work together. The two had â€œbattled fiercely, but itâ€™s only because we love this country deeplyâ€.
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