As of now, President Obama’s popular margin of victory is bigger than both of George W. Bush’s election wins in 2000 and 2004.
According to the numbers compiled by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, President Obama now leads Mitt Romney 50.81%-47.48% in the popular vote. President Obama’s popular vote margin is now bigger than both of the last two successful Republican presidential elections. In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, 48.38%-47.87%. In 2004, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in the popular vote, 50.73%-48.27%. Obama is currently posting the biggest margin of victory since Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole, 49.24%-40.71% in 1996.
What was supposed to be a nail biter of an election turned out to be only the 13th closest election in US history. Obama’s margin of victory was bigger than four other modern era (since 1952) winning candidates. George W. Bush (2000 & 2004), Jimmy Carter (1976), and Richard Nixon (1968) all had smaller margins of victory than Obama did.
This means that the bluster coming from the right about President Obama not having a mandate is nothing more than political hot air. Due to the fact that many of the yet to be counted ballots are in New York and California, President Obama’s margin of victory is expected to grow.
While Mitt Romney’s 47% popular vote percentage is a juicy bit of political karma, the real story here is the political staying power and popularity of Barack Obama.
This president won reelection by a sizable margin despite a still recovering economy and an opposition party that was determined to obstruct his agenda. One can only imagine the size and scope of Obama’s reelection victory if the economy had been a bit better, or Republicans had put “country first.”
If you really want an answer to the question of President Obama’s potential mandate, pay attention to the deeds — not the words — of his political opponents. Judging from their post-election behavior, Congressional Republicans have been knocked back on their heels by Obama’s victory. They now find themselves trapped between two very different and opposing strategies. Republicans are trying to sound a moderate tone by backing away from the Norquist tax pledge, while at the same time opposing raising any new taxes.
As the nation draws closer to the fiscal cliff, this will be an impossible position to maintain. Republicans are posturing on no new tax hikes because they have to, or their base will go into full rebellion. The reality is that taxes will go up whether Republicans agree to it or not. Either they will send a deal to the president that includes a tax hike on the wealthy, or taxes will go up when the nation tumbles off the fiscal cliff.
Obama not only achieved a larger political victory than expected, but he is parlaying that momentum into a potential series of victories that could define the course of the country and his presidential legacy.