In the end, President Barack Obama won re-election exactly the way his campaign had predicted: running up big margins with women and minorities, mobilizing a sophisticated registration and get-out-the-vote operation, and focusing narrowly on the battleground states that would determine the election.
Even as national polls suggested an exceedingly close race, Obama’s advisers insisted they had the edge in the nine competitive states. By Wednesday, Obama had won seven of them, with Florida still too close to call. Exit polls also backed up the Democratic team’s assertions that the coalition of young people and minorities who supported Obama in 2008 would still vote in big numbers this time around.
Black voters made up 13 percent of the electorate, just as they did in 2008, and Hispanics increased from 9 percent to 10 percent. Obama won more than 70 percent of Hispanics and more than 90 percent of blacks, according to exit polls. He also maintained his advantage with women, defeating Romney by 11 points among female voters.
Even before Romney officially became the nominee, Obama’s team was savaging him on the airwaves. The campaign spent millions of dollars on television advertisements that sought to cut down Romney’s business record, the central tenet of his campaign, and his character, casting the multimillionaire as a secretive protector of the rich.
Interviews with voters leaving polling places on Tuesday showed the president with a 10-point lead over Romney on the question of which candidate is more in touch with people like them. Of those holding that view, 91 percent voted for Obama.