A defining question of the 2012 presidential campaign was whether the flat economy would make President Barack Obama a "one-term president." To challenge Obama, Republican primary voters settled on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The general election appeared close, but incumbency advantage and Obama's unprecedented, sophisticated campaign, combined with unforced errors by Romney, and changing demographics carried the day for the Democrat. Obama gained a margin of 332 to 206 electoral votes, defeating Romney by 51.0% to 47.2% of the 129.1 million votes cast in the presidential race. The Center for Responsive Politics estimated spending on the long presidential campaign totaled $2.6 billion, including about $1 billion by each of the campaign/party committees and $528 million by outside organizations that report to the FEC. As Republicans maintained control in the House, and Democrats in the Senate, this was seen as pretty much of a status quo election.
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