Is Demographics Destiny?
If someone would tell me that Romney would have received, as a percentage, almost as many votes from gay voters as Hispanics or Asian voters, I would say no way. Romney's defeat can be attributed to two things, a massive turnout among minorities and retrenchment among many white voters. Call it the double whammy in which many blue collar whites stayed home and the Democratic base came out in full force.
For every new black voter Obama obtained, Hispanics provided another five new voters. The Republican percentage among Hispanics has gone from over 40% to 27% since 2004, and the Republicans right now are at an Electoral College disadvantage. Now a few notes on Demographics. While the media harps on the women vote, what is missing in the debate is that there are two major factors for why women vote Democratic. The first factor is single women are becoming a greater percentage of women voters and the second factor is that single woman are more likely to be poorer, less educated and minorities. So the women gap is as much a minority gap as minority women, like their white counterparts, are ten points less likely to vote Republican than their male counterpart. White women as a group including single women voted Republican by an eight point margin. The reason that women vote Democratic and Men vote Republican is not because "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus", but single women are more dependent upon government aid for their income compared to married women. For some single women, the government is both daddy and husband, and to vote against the Democrats is divorcing yourself from those government programs.
Youth voters voted Obama, but again, young white male voters voted Romney. So the driving force behind the youth votes going Democratic is a minority problem for Republicans as much as anything else. Minorities make a larger share of young voters than any other groups and this represents the difference. Young Hispanics voters are one of the major driving factors behind the complete collapse of Republican support among Hispanics. In 2008, young Hispanics gave Obama a 3 to 1 margin and they did in 2012. What changed is that many of these young voters who were 26 years or older in 2008 continued their three to one margin when they turned 30. Hispanics votes 30-39 were similar than their younger Hispanics voters in their margin for Obama.
The biggest surprise was that Asians voted even more for Obama than Hispanics and that could be a reflection of what they perceive as Republicans being anti-immigration. More Asian immigrants came into the United States than Hispanics in 2011, so immigration may play a bigger role with Asian voters than previously thought.
The other aspect is that many blue collar whites did not vote as those voters, Obama views as “Bitter Clingers”, simply stayed home. They may have not liked Obama, but they obviously weren’t thrilled with Romney either. Jewish voters moved closer with the Republicans in this election, and depending upon Obama's policies toward Israel, may determine whether more Jewish voters continuef move toward Republicans.
Another aspect is the African-American voters. As Sean Trende noted, there were only 300,000 additional voters, and the question that remains is, can Democrats get many more African-American voters? Republicans are so far behind in obtaining support from Black voters, but a smaller turnout or Republicans grabbing a few extra votes could tip the balance of many Midwest states back to Red. Democrats are not going to keep getting 95% of Black voters into the future and any drop in African-American voters’ turnout changes the dynamic of many races throughout the Midwest.
The final aspect of this election is that the myth that lower voter turnout benefits Republicans has been proven wrong as Democrats GOTV team showed that in an election where voter participation went down, they can out hustle Republicans. If anything, the Republicans needed an increase in voter turnout in 2012, since they did not maximize their potential and the left did.
In the past, American history has shown that coalitions don’t last forever and often break up as many different groups rebel against each other for what their Party should stand for. Both Parties have problems with their coalition. The media have covered Republicans problems but have ignored what has occurred on the left. Obama has built a leftist coalition of minorities, public sector unions, rich liberals and environmentalists. What Obama has going for him is a pliable media that has all become an auxiliary of the Democratic Party while parroting his views as gospel truth. Obama and the left have destroyed the Democratic Center. As Bret Hume noted, many moderates who prefer not to identify themselves with the left gave around 55% of their vote to Obama. However, many of these voters are closer to Erskine Bowles, who chaired Obama's deficit commission. What the media fails to recognize is the Bowles-Simpson report was the complete rejection of Obamanomics, and the nation is still split.
Both Parties have their problems, but for the long term, good policies are good politics. Obama's policies are not long term good policies as the Middle Class have seen their income drop in what Obama called a recovery. Obama has managed with help from the Media to convince more than half of America that today's present economic situation is Bush’s fault. In 2016, the failed policies of Obama can’t be blamed on Bush, but Obama. We may see the fruit of Obamanomics blossom in the next four years and those fruits may be bitter. That will change the dynamic of Obama's leftist coalition.