Swings and roundabouts: how a divided nation voted

Exit polls suggest that traditionally marginalised groups played a crucial role in Obama's victory

Shifting demographic realities shunted the 2012 election towards Barack Obama; no longer can a candidate hope to win an election simply by appealing to the white male demographic.

In 2000, George W Bush won the election with 60 per cent of the white male vote. In 2012 Mitt Romney lost the election with 60 per cent of that same demographic. To win in the future one must cobble together a multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of diverse voters.

The American population is growing more diverse by the day. New efforts to engage with traditionally marginalised groups such as Latino, Asian and black voters are now paths to victory. The impact of shifting demographic realities has been touted for decades; now this shift is a reality. Obama has turned what might have been a resounding defeat into a comfortable victory by understanding how to interact with these groups.

Examining the exit poll data, it is clear that Obama's team built on their 2008 success. Data indicates that Obama increased his proportion of the Latino electorate from 67 per cent to 71 per cent. The black vote actually declined by two points to 93 per cent, but what really matters are the raw numbers of those added to the electorate. The Latino group has increased due to voting registration efforts and natural integration. The black and Latino groups were not pandered to; they were engaged on the issues most important to them – jobs and the economy. Romney's efforts didn't help matters; perhaps it was not the brightest idea to encourage one of the most important demographic groups to self-deport to Latin America.

It is also interesting to observe the increase in support of the Asian population: 73 per cent came out in Obama's favour, up 11 per cent. It was also thought that women were breaking towards Romney, but it turns out that Obama once again captured the female vote, holding almost steady at 55 per cent. The likely cause of these positive developments seems to be great care in attracting typically marginalised populations to Obama.

The Democrats read the research that suggests that personal engagement can increase turnout and support for a candidate. The Republican Party failed with a focus on old canvassing methods. The results will be recognised for their reflection of a changing country no longer capable of ignoring marginalised groups.

Brandon Valeriano is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?