Looking past the fact the 2012 election was a GOP debacle, and the allegation — fair or not — that the GOP has a “polling problem,” the election result is best analyzed by a Resurgent Republic analysis authored by by Whit Ayres, Jon McHenry and Luke Frans. Charlie Cook said this analysis, specifically, is the best he has yet to peruse.
The basics of the analysis:
The 2012 election marks the year when the inexorable march of demographic change caught up with the Republican Party. While multiple factors led to President Obama’s reelection, none was as important as rapidly increasing demographic change in the American electorate. Mitt Romney won white voters by a landslide, 59 to 39 percent, in the process achieving the highest percentage of the white vote of any Republican
challenging an incumbent president in the history of exit polling. Yet that was not enough to craft a majority of the popular vote.
Resurgent Republic’s 2012 post-election survey polled 1000 likely voters nationally, starting on the night of the election, November 6, and concluding on Thursday, November 8. The results were weighted to conform to the popular vote outcome of 50 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney. Following are key highlights of the survey. Full results are available at resurgentrepublic.com.
Structure of the Electorate from Exit Polls
1. The 2012 electorate contained the smallest share of white voters and the largest share of nonwhite voters in American history. White voters constituted 72 percent of the electorate, down from 74 percent in 2008, 77 percent in 2004, and 81 percent in 2000.
African-Americans made up the next largest share at 13 percent, the same as 2008, and up from 11 percent in 2004 and 10 percent in 2000.
Hispanics constituted 10 percent of the electorate in 2012, compared to 9 percent in 2008, 8 percent in 2004, and 7 percent in 2000.
Asian voters made up 3 percent of the 2012 electorate, an increase from 2 percent each in 2008, 2004, and 2000.
2. Mitt Romney won a larger share of the white vote than either John McCain or George W. Bush. Romney defeated Obama by 59 to 39 percent among whites, compared to McCain winning whites by 55 to 43 percent over Obama in 2008, while Bush won whites by 58 to 41 percent over John Kerry in 2004 and by 54 to 42 percent over Al Gore in 2000.
3. Mitt Romney won white voters in almost all demographic groups, usually by substantial margins. Romney’s campaign was extremely successful at appealing to white voters across the board, and won almost all white groups except Jewish voters.