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November 8, 2012

Major Demographic Shift? (Updated)


Tara Servatius suggests that when you look at the numbers closely, there really not the result of some major demographic shift as some pundits say, and to understand Romney's loss, we need to look not just at what Obama's voters are doing, but what ours are up to as well.

[...] First, Barack Obama's re-election showing was actually pretty unimpressive for a guy whose philosophies voters have supposedly adopted. As of this writing on Wednesday, Obama's vote total stood at an unimpressive 60,119,958. That's about what John Kerry got in 2004 (59,028,444). President George W. Bush actually did far better than Obama in his 2004 reelection quest, posting a vote total that was about 2 million higher (62,040,610) than what Obama got on Tuesday. That's hardly a remarkable finish in a country with a population that has increased. In fact, it's a decline of 9 million votes from Obama's 2008 total.

Had Romney (57,425,441) done as well as McCain did in 2008 (59,934,814), he and Obama would have run neck and neck, virtually matching each other's vote totals. That's hardly the stuff of demographic ruin.

The question Republicans and conservatives need to ask is not why voters showed up for Obama, whose turnout wasn't exactly extraordinary, but why millions of their own voters, people who had pulled the lever for Bush and McCain, didn't do the same for Romney or simply stayed home.

Why did Romney get a full 2 million fewer votes than McCain did? Why did those voters pull the lever for McCain, but not for Romney? Who were they, and where did they go? That is what Republican and conservative strategists need to find out.

Is it possible that Republicans and conservative-leaning independents just weren't that wild about the guy?

More here.

Servatius has a point. As was noted in my previous post, Romney got the least votes of any major presidential candidate in 12 years despite the head of steam the GOP had coming out of the historic 2010 midterm elections. Bottom line, the base, and much of the base is indeed white, failed to show up at the polls. That this is the case is evidenced by Sean Trende's point today regarding those 'missing' white voters; it turns out that the increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator. So moving forward, the GOP needs to figure out who these white non-voters are, why they stayed home, and whether they might be reactivated in 2016.

Update: Obama Didn't Win By Turning Out Black Voters, But By Turning Off White Voters

Posted by Hyscience at November 8, 2012 10:25 AM

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