Why Obama Won: Which Demographic Groups Elected Him President For A Second Term
This hub will focus on the numbers – which groups voted in great numbers to elect Barack Obama to his second term in office. I am purposefully ignoring political opinion, and looking at voters in terms of clear economic, racial and gender groups they belong to, in order to give a picture of how President Obama gained a majority of the votes in this election, strictly in terms of demographics.
Numbers came fom these links:
- Mitt Romney Is Capturing Zero Percent Of The Black Vote, According To New Poll
- Single women voted overwhelmingly in favour of Obama, researchers find | World news | The Guardian
- Obama Swept States With The Most Educated Workforces And The Highest Paid Teachers | ThinkProgress
- Latino voters helped Obama win, creating force Republicans can't ignore. - Morning Call
- Why My Students Couldn't Relate to Romney | Care2 Causes
- August 26, 1920 - Women's Suffrage Victory - 19th Amendment Becomes Law
Who Voted Obama into the Oval Office
Group #4: Women
55% of women voted for Obama, and 44% for Romney. Since women are 54% of voters, their higher percentage translates into even more votes. And marital status was very important in voting for a candidate for president. Somewhat more married women voted for Romney (4 percentage points more), but many more single women voted for Obama (36 percentage points more).
Group #3: The educated
States with a more educated workforce were more likely to favor Obama. Of the 10 states with highest rates of college degrees, all 10 were won by Obama. Of the 10 states with the lowest levels of education, 9 were won by Romney, and 1 by Obama.
Group #2: Those with less money
The poor voted for Obama. He won 60% of the votes of people whose household income is less than $50K a year. To give this context, the median income in the US in 2010 was $51,900. In every income bracket over $50K a year Obama was either evenly split with Romney, or Romney won more votes. To put things bluntly, the half of the population that is better off financially overwhelming voted for Romney, and the bottom half of the population financially speaking voted for Obama.
Group #1: Racial Minorities
80% of Black, Hispanic and Asian voters cast their ballots with Obama, and this is such a powerful majority I place it in the number 1 place. These black and brown demographics, as they are sometimes called, are a mix of very different interests and cultures, yet they appear overwhelmingly united on one thing: choosing Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Asians voted for Obama by a 3 to 1 margin. Latinos are approximately 10% of the electorate, and 74% of them voted for Obama. To get an idea of just how crucial the Latino vote is consider this: Obama won 3 million more popular votes than Romney, and he won 5 million more Latino votes. Critically, the Latino vote made the difference in several swing states. Blacks make up about 12% of the US population, and 95 % voted for Obama.
Conclusion? Is America Changing?
What does all of this mean? President Obama appeals to demographic groups which have grown in recent years, and which are projected to grow. Women are the majority of voters. Later marriage, or not marrying at all, is becoming more common, boosting the large and powerful block of single women voters. More people complete a college education, placing them in the 'educated' catagoy which favored Obama. With a struggling economy, more people experience the troubles of the poor, if they don’t simply end up being poor. Populations of Latinos, Blacks and Asians are predicted to grow in comparison with the White population.
The American electorate has shifted drastically since the country was founded. In our first elections only White men who owned land voted. The electorate was solidly male, White, and financially well off. The gains in voting rights of the last two centuries have changed the characteristics of the American voting public. The poor can vote, racial background is no barrier, and the feared ‘petticoat rule’ of those who opposed women’s sufferage has become a reality. While many talk about vision, or conflicting ideals of America, some deep differences of race, class and gender determined the election.
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