At about 10:15 p.m. last night, most major news networks announced Barack Obama will take a second term as president of the United States. Obama collected 303 electoral votes and defeated Governor Mitt Romney by just a small margin in the popular vote.
While the election as a whole was very competitive, there were very few changes from the way Americans voted in 2008. Only two states, Indiana and North Carolina, displayed shifts with both state’s electoral votes going to Romney. Despite these changes, victories in nearly all the battleground states, including Ohio and Colorado, helped Obama to win by nearly 100 electoral votes.
Nationwide, the largest margins came in Washington D.C. where Obama took 91 percent of the vote and in Utah where 73 percent chose Romney.
With no surprise Texas went Republican, but metropolitan areas like Austin, Dallas and San Antonio along with many border counties were won by Democrats. Romney won 76.1 percent of Taylor county’s voteÂ and the local electorate selected Republican Randy Neugebauer to the 19th District House of Representatives seat by a staggering margin of 70 percent. Ted Cruz won the Texas Senate seat by 17 percent.
Democrats maintained the majority in the U.S. Senate, gaining three more seats, and Republicans maintained the majority in the House of Representatives.
Possibly overshadowed by the presidential election, many states had historical measures on their ballots.
Same-sex marriage was on the ballot in four states. More than 30 states have previously included the issue on ballots with all losing. But last night, Maine, Maryland and Washington legalized gay marriage and, at print time, the vote in Minnesota is too close to call. After winning a Wisconsin seat, Tammy Baldwin also became the first openly gay U.S. Senator.
The legalization of recreational marijuana was also on the ballot in five states. While Arkansas and Oregon voted down the measure, it passed in Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington with plans to tax and regulate the drug, effectively treating it like alcohol.
With votes are still being tallied in many Western states and Florida, Barack Obama will begin another four-year term in January.