This is part three of a four-part series on empirical reasons why Democratic incumbent Barack Obama won the presidential election over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Part one dealt with Obama’s dominance with swing states. Part two dealt with Obama’s dominance of demographics and minorities. Up next is Obama’s social media and web presence. See part 4.
Much has been written (including here) about Barack Obama’s control of the minority vote. What is becoming increasingly clear is that Obama in his two presidential elections, and Democrats as a whole, are beginning to control the majority vote as well.
Not just racially, but the gender gap.
Consider that in 2008, Obama defeated Republican nominee John McCain in part by a consider margin among women–56 percent went to Obama compared to 43 percent for McCain.
In the same election, Obama narrowly won the male vote as well, by a mere percentage point (49 to 48), according to CNN exit polling.
So 56 percent of men, and 49 percent of women, good for a seven point gender gap in the 2008 election. Seems like a lot, right?
In fact, five elections since 1980 had an equal or greater gender gap, headed by Bill Clinton’s seemingly insurmountable 16 point lead over Bob Dole among women in 1996 (and a gender gap of 11 percent). Clinton actually lost the male vote by a percentage point.
Heading into this November, only Clinton, again since 1980, had won the national election despite losing the male vote.
Obama, however, not only won this year’s presidential election, he did so by losing the male vote by a whopping seven percent. This unprecedented defeat among male voters, in which Romney won 52 to 45 percent, did nothing to help Romney from suffering a nearly 130 electoral vote deficit.
- First, women are actually the majority of voters, and by a significant margin. In both 2008 and 2012, CNN exit polling found women to make up 53 percent of the voting electorate, up six percent over their male counterparts.
Consider that an estimated 122 million people voted this election. That’s 64.5 million women voters, approximately. Women are hardly a voting target group or special interest. They, more than any other demographic, helped swing this election.
- This is evident in the second reason: Obama won the women vote by a staggering 11 point margin on a national level, 55 to 44 percent over Romney.
So Obama wins 55 percent of women, 45 percent of men. A 10 point gender gap (second highest since 1980 in presidential elections), and still wins convincingly, because women are a powerful voting block, and vote they did.
According to the 2010 census, women make up just under 51 percent of the total American population. Yet, in terms of voting, women clearly pull their weight in terms of democratic participation.
We will touch on the two campaigns’ social media and web presence further in another article, but briefly, consider the two campaigns and their web appeals to women voters. Romney’s website is currently defaulted to a thank you page, but check Facebook:
Women for Obama – 1,303,164 likes
Women for Romney – 13,491 likes
Not the most empirical evidence, but it gives you a sense of the direct appeal the Obama campaign has made towards women compared to Romney.
The two campaigns’ platforms and policies aside, its unquestionable the Democrats went after the women vote, and it paid off.
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