President Obama won re-election against rival Mitt Romney. That’s the big news, but the other story is how Americans voted. That part is still being reviewed and final statistics are not yet finished, but exit polling shows a confused picture.
The big talking point is that President Obama won Blacks, Hispanics, and women. Mitt Romney won men, particularly White men. The margin of victory based on race is extreme. Blacks voted for President Obama some 93%, Hispanics fell in line with 71% support, and women provided 55%. Asians also had high support numbers for President Obama with 73% of the vote.
This brings up an interesting thought. Race is the taboo subject of politics. It can’t be brought up (as least not by Republicans or Conservatives) but it was a defining force in 2008. The desire to have a Black President, to break the ultimate glass-ceiling was a compelling incentive driving millions of new voters to act. This election cycle there was a loss of that enthusiasm and expectations were that voter turnout would reduce among the racial groups. Whether this is true is not yet known, but for those that did vote, the support was one-sided.
Given that unemployment officially for African Americans is 14.3% and has been almost double the official unemployment rate (7.9% currently) since President Obama took office, the votes cannot be attributed to economic success. A similar situation exists for Hispanics, 10% unemployment and consistently higher than the official rate, while women remain in line with the official unemployment rate – 7.2%. Asians heled a 4.9% unemployment rate.
Add to this 19% of all voters were youth, 19 – 29 years of age, who voted 60% in line for President Obama. The unemployment rate for this group is approximately 11.8% (of which teenagers 18 – 21, are at 23.7% unemployment officially).
Considering that exit polls show 74% of Americans feel the economic situation is the same or worse than in 2008, that 52% feel the nation is going in the wrong direction, 59% believe the economy was the key factors in the election, and 49% believe that Mitt Romney was the better choice to handle the economy, the question is why the above groups picked President Obama rather than Romney?
Part of the answer lies in the 42% that felt, in exit polls, that the response to Superstorm Sandy was critical in their vote. As we surmised on November 3rd
“President Obama resurrected his image as a leader in command of the situation. His compassion touched the nation…History may well determine that the key to deciding the 2012 election was mother nature herself.”
Even with that factored, Mitt Romney won 50% of Independents, 14% of Liberals, and 41% of Moderates according to exit polls.
In far less scientific observations, the reasons for votes in favor of President Obama presented to us have been:
All 3 are items that have no proof based on Romney’s time as Governor of Massachuesetts. Plus, President Obama did start a war in Libya, expanding the Executive branch power in contradiction to the War Powers Act. We chalk those 3 examples to soundbite ads that proved to be effective for the Obama campaign.
Perhaps the most critical non-political reason is one we were told via Facebook, and was exit polled as well. The comments on Facebook, shortly after the election results on November 6th, were as follows:
Lisa [Last name withheld] – *Hardy Har.* I think you’re just being a contrarian.
12 hours ago
Mike Vass – Benghazi, debt, Immigration, green energy failures, expansion of power by government. Nope, it’s based on what’s happened and not what people hope will happen.
12 hours ago
Lisa [Last name withheld] – *Hmmm* Except for Benghazi, you could be talking about Bush.
12 hours ago
Mike Vass – Except President Obama has been in office the last 4 years. And I was against much the same with Bush too. It’s not about Party as much as principles.
12 hours ago
The issue is President Bush. 51% of those responding to an exit poll blamed the current economic situation on President Bush – 4 years after he has left office. It has fueled the consistent argument that President Obama needs more time.
Thus in conclusion, the data at the moment lends itself to the following: President Obama was re-elected based on racial preferences, without regard to his policy, and a continuing dislike of President Bush. This was further modified by an emotional response to Superstorm Sandy, and a strong belief that President Obama will eventually justify the faith voters have placed in him with their votes. Well placed and worded television ads supported the emotional reasoning.
Stated another way, the hope of eventual change overrode the fact that no change has occured.