By Greg Giroux
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama is the first president in more than five decades to win at least 51 percent of the national popular vote twice, according to a revised vote count in New York eight weeks after the Nov. 6 election.
State election officials submitted a final tally on Dec. 31 that added about 400,000 votes, most of them from provisional ballots in the Democratic stronghold of New York City that were counted late in part because of complications caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Nationally, Obama won 65.9 million vote, or 51.1 percent, against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who took 60.9 million votes and 47.2 percent of the total cast, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Obama is the first president to achieve the 51 percent mark in two elections since Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, who did it in 1952 and 1956, and the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won four consecutive White House races. Roosevelt received 53.4 percent of the vote — his lowest — in his last race in 1944.
Obama, 51, benefited from political factors that included a lack of serious opposition for his party's nomination or from well-known third-party challengers, and an absence of social unrest, scandal or foreign-policy disasters during his first term, said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington.
"Under the big picture, this was an entirely predictable election outcome," Lichtman said.
The president won the popular vote in 26 states and the District of Columbia, totaling 332 electoral votes, or 62 more than the 270 needed to win the presidency. Romney won 24 states with 206 electoral votes. Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008.
Congress certified the 2012 electoral votes in a joint session today. Obama will take the oath of office on Jan. 20, a Sunday, and give his inaugural speech at the Capitol on Jan. 21.
Turnout in this year's presidential race was about 129.1 million, down from the record 131.3 million four years ago.