2008: 131 million Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election. There were 206 million Americans of voting age (18 and up); 146 million were registered to vote. There were five million more voters in 2008 than in 2004: Black, Hispanic and Asian voters accounted for the increase; the number of white voters stayed the same.
2012: “In more than 13,000 interviews conducted so far in 2012, 35 per cent of registered voters identify with the Democratic Party, 28 per cent with the Republican Party and 33 per cent as independents. The share of Democrats has fallen three points since 2008, while the proportion of Republicans has remained steady.” (Pew Research Center, August, 2012)
Candidate: Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II, 51, born in 1961 in Honolulu.
Fast fact: Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School.
Quote: “I wish I could use my middle name,” President Barack Obama joked at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York attended by both candidates in October.
Campaign songs: We Take Care of Our Own by Bruce Springsteen; City of Blinding Lights by U2.
Candidate: Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney, 65, born in 1947 in Detroit.
Fast Fact: Romney was born in Detroit and raised 40 km away in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He attended Brigham Young University for his BA and Harvard University for an MBA.
Quote: "The President's remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter 'O' and the number '16 trillion'," Mitt Romney joked at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York attended by both candidates in October.
Campaign songs: Born Free by Detroit rocker Kid Rock; It’s America by Rodney Atkins.
Obama campaign fundraising (2012): $556-million; money spent: $459-million; cash on hand: $99-million.
Last Obama fundraising event: Miami on Oct. 11, emceed by actress Eva Longoria; total fundraisers attended in 2012: 153.
Total fundraising of Obama supporters (campaign, party committee and Super PACs): $1.08-billion; total spent: $887-million; cash on hand: $134-million.
Top contributors to Obama campaign through employees and affiliated political action committees: University of California; Microsoft Corp.; Google Inc.; Harvard University; U.S. government.
Romney campaign fundraising (2012): $340-million; money spent: $277-million; cash on hand: $63-million.
Last Romney fundraising event: Palm Beach, Fla., on Oct. 21, hosted by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross and part owner of Washington Redskins Dwight Schar; total fundraisers attended in 2012: not available.
Total fundraising of Romney supporters (campaign, party committee and Super PACs) : $1.13-billion; total spent: $777-million; cash on hand: $193-million.
Top contributors to Romney campaign through employees and affiliated political action committees: Goldman Sachs; Bank of America; Morgan Stanley; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Credit Suisse Group.
The ground game
Obama field offices nationally: about 800; Romney field offices nationally: about 300.
In Ohio: 131 Obama field offices; 40 Romney field offices.
In Florida: 102 Obama field offices; 48 Romney field offices.
In Colorado: 63 Obama field offices; 14 Romney field offices.
Roughly half of all money raised by the campaigns and their supporters is spent on advertising.
$347-million: cost of TV ads by Obama and affiliated groups. Percentage of ads attacking Mitt Romney: 85 per cent.
$386-million: cost of TV ads by Romney and affiliated groups. Percentage of ads attacking Barack Obama: 91 per cent.
States where most ad money spent by both campaigns: Florida, Virginia and Ohio.
The most-tweeted moment in U.S. political history: During the first presidential debate, when moderator Jim Lehrer quipped, “Let’s not,” following Mitt Romney’s request to address a topic. The number of tweets per minute at that moment: 158,690.
Star of first presidential debate: Mitt Romney.
Social media star of first presidential debate: Big Bird – following Mr. Romney’s comment: “I like PBS, I love Big Bird … but I’m not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for them.”
Best meme (thanks to Mitt Romney): #bindersfullofwomen
Two words that caused the biggest spike on Facebook during final presidential debate: 1. Bayonets: “We also have fewer horses and bayonets” – President Obama explaining, with heavy sarcasm, the changing nature of the U.S. military. 2. Whopper: President Obama describing Mitt Romney’s “apology tour” line of attack as the “biggest whopper” of campaign.
Facebook fans: 31.2 million (Obama); 21.2 million (Romney)
Twitter followers: 21.2 million (Obama); 1.6 million (Romney)
What else to watch for
Senate race: Democratic candidate and former Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren tries to win back the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy and taken by Republican Scott Brown in 2010 during the Tea Party wave. It’s just one of the Senate races that will determine whether control of the Senate stays with the Democrats or passes to the Republicans.
Same-sex marriage referendum: Voters in Washington state will decide on a law permitting same-sex marriage. The measure to strike down the law was brought forward by an anti gay-marriage group, Preserve Marriage Washington, which has raised $1.8-million. Washington United for Marriage, which supports the law, has raised $10.5-million.
Casino referendum: Maryland also has a referendum on same-sex marriage, as well as a ballot question that could lead to a dramatic expansion of gambling facilities in the state. The Governor and supporters of the plan say a Las Vegas-style casino will raise hundreds of millions of dollars and create jobs. Rival gambling companies have spent a total of more than $50-million to sink or pass the measure.