President Obama won reelection in 2012 despite weak economic conditions. The economic collapse of 2008 resulted in soaring unemployment rates that have been as high as 10%, and remained at more than 8% through most of 2012; this is the highest unemployment rate since the 1982 recession. The state of the U.S. economy was the dominant issues, with Barack Obama’s campaign arguing that the president has taken action to rescue the economy and turn it in the right direction, and Mitt Romney’s campaign arguing that the recovery isn't happening quickly enough. In an election year marked by a troubled economy and low public approval of the government, it was not surprising that the tenor of the ad campaign was extremely negative. With total spending by the official campaigns and outside “Super PAC” groups expected to reach more than one billion dollars, there has been a deluge of negative ads. Well more than 75% of all presidential campaign ads in 2012 were negative.
Barack Obama for president
Joseph Biden for vice president
The Obama campaign spent most of its advertising money trying to define Republican challenger Mitt Romney as a callous multi-millionaire whose policies favor the wealthy over the middle class. While the campaign has produced positive ads touting the president’s successes, this was clearly not a “Morning in America” re-election campaign; the focus was primarily on attacking the challenger.
Mitt Romney for president
Paul Ryan for vice president
The Romney campaign tried to define the Obama presidency as a failure, citing high unemployment, rising deficits, and higher gas prices. It tried to capitalize on the comment “you didn’t build that” by President Obama, made during a speech, attempting to portray the president as favoring big government over private enterprise. This line of attack didn't make much of a dent in Obama's popularity, its impact weakened by the wide circulation of a video recording of Romney saying that he didn't care about 47% of the population, who were destined to vote for Obama.