WASHINGTON (November 7, 2012)--The 2012 election laid bare a dual and dueling nation, jaggedly split down the middle on the presidency and torn over much else politically.
Americans retained the fractious balance of power in re-electing President Barack Obama, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, altogether serving as guarantors of the gridlock that voters say they despise.
Slender percentages separated winner and loser from battleground to battleground, and people in exit polls said yea and nay in roughly equal measure to some of the big issues of the day.
Democrats were ebullient and, after a campaign notable for its raw smack-downs, words of conciliation and healing were coming from leaders on both sides, starting with the plea from defeated Republican rival Mitt Romney that his supporters pray for the president.
But Mr. Obama's assertion Wednesday morning that America is "more than a collection of red states and blue states" was more of an aspiration than a snapshot of where the country stands after the most ideologically polarized election in years.