Obama Wins Re-Election

Richard S. Dunham, San Francisco Chronicle, November 7, 2012

A demographic tidal wave became a Democratic tidal wave as President Obama won a tight but decisive re-election victory Tuesday with the help of record-breaking support from Hispanic voters, massive turnout from African Americans and continuing enthusiasm from young Americans.

Although Republican nominee Mitt Romney won a larger share of the white vote than any presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan scored a landslide re-election victory in 1984, the former Massachusetts governor ended up a loser at the polls because of the racial, ethnic and generational changes that have altered the U.S. electoral landscape.

The portion of nonwhite voters in the electorate has tripled over the last four decades to 27 percent on Tuesday. The Democratic incumbent led among African Americans by 93 percent to 6 percent—the best performance by a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Heavy African American turnout in Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Miami changed the dynamic in four battleground states. In key swing states, Romney received just 1 percent of the African American vote in Florida and 3 percent in Ohio and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Latino voters, energized by tough Republican rhetoric on immigration, voted Democratic by 69 percent to 30 percent [Ed. More recent figures indicate 71 to 27 percent], tipping the balance of power in a string of states including Nevada, New Mexico and Iowa.

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For the first time in American history, Latinos made up 10 percent of the electorate, up from 9 percent in 2008. {snip}

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In contrast to Obama’s rainbow coalition, Romney’s core supporters were older, evangelical and white. The Republican nominee did better among white voters than any Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984, topping Obama by 20 points, 59 percent to 39 percent. Romney scored particularly well among older white men, white women who have not completed college and rural white males.

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Turnout among African Americans and young voters remained similar to 2008, while Latino turnout increased nationwide. The Hispanic vote was particularly significant in Nevada, where Latinos jumped from 15 percent of the electorate four years ago to 18 percent on Tuesday.

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