Bill Clinton got a mandate at least once, probably twice -- going by the edge he had in the popular vote. George W. Bush had no mandate and a lot of doubts as to whether he won at all in 2000. In 20o4 he did a little better, but he didn't end in mandateville. Worse -- for Bush's "legacy" -- both of his wins will forever have a footnote of "voting irregularities."
Obama's wins have been unquestioned. His wins were more solid and conventional than either of Bush's wins, though not with as great a "mandate" as Clinton. You can run the comparisons here and see for yourself who is closer to a mandate and who's just a blowhard.
All that comes to mind as we look at Florida 2012, now that all the returns have been counted. Obama is the unquestioned winner. And with a nice solid "we-know-who's-in-charge-here" kind of win at 50.6 to 47.9 The electoral college numbers are a generous back-up at 332-206. I'd say the people spoke pretty clearly in 2012.
Romney won nine of the 11 states that were once in the Confederacy.
Taegan Goddard has a nice comment from The Economist: ""Arguing whether Mr Obama has a mandate is like debating whether somebody has mojo, or whether basketball star LeBron James is 'in the zone' on a given night: there's a discussion to be had, but no way to come to a definite conclusion."
Romney also won eight of the 10 states with the lowest population density: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Nebraska and Utah. Obama won New Mexico and Nevada. (Hello. Hello. Hello. Is there an echo in here?) ...Charles Blow, NYT