The 2012 United States presidential election was the 57th quadrennial American presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The Democratic nominee, President Barack Obama, and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, were elected to a second term. They defeated the Republican ticket of former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
As the incumbent president, Obama secured the Democratic nomination with no serious opposition. The Republicans experienced a competitive primary. Romney was consistently competitive in the polls and won the support of many party leaders, but he faced challenges from a number of more conservative contenders. Romney clinched his party's nomination in May, defeating Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and several other candidates.
The campaigns focused heavily on domestic issues, and debate centered largely around sound responses to the Great Recession. Other issues included long-term federal budget issues, the future of social insurance programs, and the Affordable Care Act, Obama's marquee legislative program. Foreign policy was also discussed, including the phase-out of the Iraq War, military spending, the Iranian nuclear program, and appropriate counteractions to terrorism. The campaign was marked by a sharp rise in fundraising, including from nominally independent Super PACs.
Obama defeated Romney, winning a majority of both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Obama won 51.1% of the popular vote compared to Romney's 47.2%. Obama was the first incumbent since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 to win reelection with fewer electoral votes and a lower popular vote percentage than had been won in the previous election, and was also the first two-term president since Ronald Reagan to win both his presidential bids with a majority of the nationwide popular vote.