This is part two 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. Up next is his control of the gender gap. See part 3 and part 4.
When the results of the 2010 census came out earlier this election cycle, many pundits predicted bad news for the Republicans. Were they right?
Let’s first look back at the 2000 and 2010 census and see just how important the Latino vote has become in the American electorate:
2000 Census – Hispanic/Latinos: 35.3 million citizens
2010 Census – Hispanic/Latinos: 50.5 million citizens
That’s a 43 percent increase, just in 10 years. Proportionally speaking, this is one of the biggest growing electorates in America.
(Interestingly, it’s not the fastest; Asians grew from 10.2 million to 14.7 million, or a 43.3 percent increase. But Latinos, who grew by over 15 million, could be said to be more significant.)
So why, was it said, that a growing number of Latino Americans spelled trouble for the Republican Party?
Here’s how the Latinos voted in the 2008 election between then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain
New York Times Exit Polls – Obama (67%), McCain (31%)
Fox News Exit Polls – Obama (67%), McCain (31%)
CNN Exit Polls – Obama (67%), McCain (31%)
All with the same conclusion: Obama dominated the Hispanic vote.
So an electorate heavily favoring Obama and the Democrats on a national level, and its growing at a rapid pace? Pundits understandably predicted much of the same in 2012. Not only were Latinos growing in population, they were growing in their percentage of the voting public:
According to exit polls from CNN and Fox News, Latinos accounted for nine percent of the vote in 2008. This number grew to double digits this time around, accounting for 10 percent in the 2012 election.
How’d Obama do? Even better. All exit polls show Obama winning with at least a 40 point spread. CNN and Fox News both had Obama winning 71 percent to 27 percent over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
And Asians, the other rapidly-growing demographic listed above? Obama 73 percent, Romney 26 percent.
Blacks, unchanged electorate-wise at 13 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2012? 93 percent went for Obama.
If the exit polls are an accurate measure of national trends, we learn that a presidential candidate can lose by 20 points to a white electorate base which makes up 72 percent of the vote and can still come out on top. Obama did this by dominating the minority vote, particularly those whose significance on the national political scene are rising.