The 57th presidential election of 2012 will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Incumbent President Barack Obama is running for a second and final term during this election. The 2012 presidential election will coincide with the United States Senate elections where 33 races will be occurring as well as the United States House of Representatives elections to elect the members for the 113th Congress. The election will also encompass eleven gubernatorial races as well as many state legislature races.
In 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain in the presidential election, while the Democrats had net gains in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, maintaining their majorities. The major theme during the 2008 campaign was the American public's general desire of change and reform from both Washington and the policies of outgoing Republican President George W. Bush, who was term limited out of office. The economy and other domestic policies were also dominant issues, especially during the last months of the campaign after the onset of the 2008 economic crisis.
During Obama's presidency, he signed two pieces of economic stimulus - the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 in December 2010. As President, Obama also signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. Obama signed New START, an arms control treaty with Russia, began to gradually withdraw troops from Iraq, began to increase troops in Afghanistan, and enforced the United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya. And on May 1, 2011, President Obama ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The Democrats did not fare as well in the 2010 midterm elections, suffering major defeats in many national and state level elections, with many seats switching to Republican control. The Republicans also recaptured the majority in the House of Representatives. Candidates and voters in 2010 focused on the worsening national economic conditions and the economic policies of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats. The passage of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also contributed to the low approval ratings of Congress, particularly Democrats, as well as concerns over tax rates and record deficits. The fiscally-focused and quasi-libertarian Tea Party movement became a vocal force in mobilizing voters in 2010 for Republican candidates nationwide.
Polling in 2011 found that Americans were still increasingly frustrated with the U.S. government as a whole, and the Republican Party shared in those high disapproval ratings. In particular, although the majority of Americans felt Obama did not have a successful plan to bring jobs, they trusted Congress even less to create them. The debt-ceiling crisis further eroded public support for both Obama and the congressional Republicans.
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