Exit polls find that a key to Obama's victory was winning 93 percent of African-Americans, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 73 percent of Asians. Mitt Romney took most of the white vote, which is 72 percent of the electorate. But it wasn't enough.
President Obama was reelected Tuesday night in large part because of strong support from women and minorities. The lesson of his victory for both parties, but particularly Republicans, may be this: The primacy of white male voters has passed. In the modern era, it takes a diverse coalition to win the White House.
Look at the basic breakdown of Mr. Obama’s victory, according to exit polls (which may yet be revised). He won 93 percent of African-Americans, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 73 percent of Asians. He took 55 percent of the overall female vote, down only one percentage point from his comparable 2008 showing.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, won about 59 percent of the white vote. That’s the best a GOP nominee has done among whites since 1988, and not too long ago such a performance might have guaranteed a winning margin of 270 electoral votes. After all, whites still make up 72 percent of US voters.
But that percentage has inexorably grown smaller election by election. In 2008 whites were 74 percent of the electorate. Given Obama’s popularity among minorities, Mr. Romney would have needed the support of even more whites to win – and Obama did well (or well enough) among white women, particularly single and young white women.
Romney won white men by 25 points. It wasn’t enough.