15 Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2012 Election

Everyone from gay couples and potheads to Karl Rove and Mexican drug cartels had a big stake in the 2012 Election results.

Few things are more satisfying than an election, because an election provides data and results—which means actual winners and losers. Here, we've rounded up a bit of both:


Barack Obama: Based on a great ground game and smart spending, the president was able to win a second term during a slow recovery from a terrible recession. And for the most part, he held onto the states he won in 2008, losing only Indiana and North Carolina. (Florida remains too close to count).

Gay Equality: Voters in Maine and Maryland (and potentially Washington) approved the rights of gay couples to marry, while Minnesota voted down a proposition that would ban gay marriage. A historic evening.

Women: Turns out, women aren't big fans of the GOP. (Or men making bizarre comments about rape.) Women broke for Obama by 11 points, and since they make up around 53 percent of the electorate, they helped to swing the election in his favor. Meanwhile, 19 women were elected to the U.S. Senate—the most ever—including Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren: After months of polls bouncing back and forth between Warren and Scott Brown, the professor ran away with the seat last night.

Marijuana: Massachusetts passed a long-awaited medical marijuana ballot measure, while Colorado and Washington legalized pot outright. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed the state's legalization initiative, said: “the voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”

Nate Silver: The much-criticized poll analyst/mathematician/witch nailed his predictions. So much that many people predicted that he might experience a windfall of gratitude.

Senate Democrats: The Democrats had 23 Senate seats up for grabs last night, while the Republicans had only 10. Against all odds, the Democrats held their majority—and may still pick up another couple seats in Montana and North Dakota.

Hispanics: The increasingly powerful Hispanic vote, which now makes up 10 percent of all voters, favored Obama over Romney by a 71 to 27 percent margin. Just 8 years ago, Bush won 44 percent of Hispanic voters. Unless the GOP moves toward the middle on immigration, they're going to keep losing these voters.



Mitt Romney: Our former governor lost a hard-fought election, including losing more than two-thirds of the vote in Massachusetts. Let the GOP firing circle begin: Was he too moderate? Too conservative? Too robot-like?

Mexican Drug Cartels: Barring a fight with the federal government, pot is now legal in Colorado and Washington, and medical marijuana is becoming increasingly accepted. According to the Economist, Mexican drug cartels sell around $2 billion in weed to America. Looks like it could be the beginning of the end for an enormous market.

Eric Fehrnstrom: The political adviser to both the Romney and Brown campaigns went 0-2 yesterday. Incidentally, he's been pretty quiet on Twitter.

Karl Rove: Almost had a meltdown on Fox News last night, going so far as to argue with the station when it called Ohio for Obama around 11:15 p.m.

Donald Trump: Last night, The Donald called the election a “total sham” and suggested a “revolution.” This is why crazy people shouldn't be allowed to use Twitter.



Conservative Republicans: They may have pushed Romney too far to the right in the primary and caused the loss of a few Senate seats they probably should have won, but they still control the House. The big question: Will they compromise with Obama?

Paul Ryan: The young gun didn't become vice president yesterday, but he burnished his reputation as a Republican and held onto his Congressional seat. This won't be the last we've heard from Ryan.