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Why Obama Won: Which Demographic Groups Elected Him President For A Second Term

Updated on November 13, 2012

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.

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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    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      Well, you know the popular saying, "Everything happens for a reason." And the fact is that there have been people who for 100 years have longed to destroy America because it stood for everything they hated: Free Enterprise, Individual Liberty, and Christianity. These people were mostly atheists who syncretized Marx and Freud, though some are occultists. The most influential among them belonged to the Frankfort School of Cultural Marxism.

      The effect of this ideology, which saw America as standing in the way of a New World Order, a One World Government, by which a group of elites will rule the world, would take a whole book to explicate--and I am working on that. But to suffice for now to say that, as pertains to your magnificent Hub, the Feminist Movement and the Immigration Act of 1965, have come to fruition.

      As for the Immigration Act of 1965, the ultra-liberal Americans for Democratic Action, the ACLU, and the National Lawyers Guild all fought for this change in immigration policy; as did the Communist Party USA (on the grounds that it destabilizes working Americans and would therefore make Communism more palatable). Today's population is the result of yesterday's immigration policy.

      The truth is that people of color consistently provided votes for the Democratic Party. The Progressives of that party thought that with millions of new, reliable voters they could permanently swing the balance of power in America. That same reasoning motivates them today with their plan for "comprehensive immigration reform," which really means to take the ten or twenty million people who snuck across the border into America illegally, and turn them into new citizen voters. Anybody against that idea is branded a racist.

      The Immigration Act of 1965 was pushed through the Senate by Ted Kennedy. He had some interesting predictions about the future effects of the bill on America: "First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset.... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area . . . It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."

      Of course, everything he said was wrong and he knew it at the time. A million immigrants a year did flood our cities; immigrant levels did not stay anywhere near the same; the ethnic mix of the country was greatly upset; it did inundate America with immigrants from one country and area, namely Mexico and Latin America; and it has cost American workers millions of jobs. As Senator Kennedy knew it would, but forgot to mention, it upset the balance of power in America. The Boston Globe credited the Immigration Act of 1965 with Obama's election in 2008.

      I wrote about this in my Hub, "Immigration and Illegal Aliens."

      As I wrote in my Hub "The Feminist Movement," Feminism was touted as the path to independence for women. Apparently, no way told them that being dependent on the government is not the same thing as being independent.


    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      Steel Engineer - Thank you for your post, and thank you for reading! I was unaware that exit polls don't happen anymore, and so i now wonder how we know who voted for who.

      I check all comments first, but i leave all comments up unless they are personally harrassing. Different opinions are all welcome!

      (I have had one or two harassers - these weren't different opinions, they were people who got out of hand with the personal insults.)

    • Steel Engineer profile image

      Steel Engineer 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      A few elections back, they came against exit polls. Now, it is illegal to take an exit poll. In other words, there is no easy way to check how people actually voted.

      The problem with poor people is, they vote for more handouts. The handouts are given exactly for this reason. The Romans started this: free bread to the masses to prevent them from rebelling.

      Minorities voted for the minority? How is that not racist? They voted for him because he is not white. However, he is doing exactly what all the white presidents before him did. Except, he is doing something none before him ever dared to do: He is transferring all the wealth to his friends. This is the "Chicago Way".

      Grace: please leave this post up. I would like people to go to YouTube and view the documentary "Dreams from my REAL Father". It is extremely well documented.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      FSlovenec - The problems are complex, and most voters aren't experts in economics. There is so much information out there. You sound like you know alot more than about 99% of voters.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      The fray may be the problem remember the Hillary Barack war then Romney et al with people dragging along wasting time and money. Life is to shot to listen to this nonsense for 2 years. The reality emotion won. The US issues with the economy are to simple and people like to blame someone. Obama blamed Bush for 4 years when he knows in his own economic report page 411 it says the housing crisis caused by low interest no documentation loans sponsored by Barnie Frank and the democrats is what caused the collapse. Wall street packaged these government backed loans with other stuff to create an "average" B rated investment package and marketed them all over the world.. The democrats forcing deregulation caused the problem not tax cuts not republican deregulation..the problem is most voters are emotional and uninformed. Go back to Regan when he went to the people and explained things rather than 140 character attention span... Now Barack and the boys are doing the same thing forcing undocumented loans backed by the bankrupt FHA. It will take us down in 24 to 30 months...

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      FSlovenic- This was the most expensive campaign in history - i agree, too much money spent. And Romney was a canidate many Republicans were not behind. I am sometimes surprised at who emerges from the fray of the primaries.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      3 Million Republican voters who voted in 2008 did not vote. This would have turned the election. However this is telling in itself of the candidate Romney that as important as this election, this significant number was not motivated to vote. Every so many years one party or the other goes into is tough to beat an incumbent, who has had 4 to 6 years of raising money and putting a machine in place, not impossible but very tough, then to run a divisive candidate who could not even get the faithful out was a brutal mistake, also a mistake to have a primary season that ran so long and was so detrimental and turned people off. Just think what 2016 will be when both parties are trying to determine their candidate. Solution: Cut the campaigning to 6 weeks, severely limit the amount of money that can be spent.This would make the candidates get to the issues, could be in 6 local town halls...what we have is ramped lies and half truths being thrown around..think what this does to the moral value of the youth who see the people running for the top job telling these lies as regular rhetoric. We have the best system in the world, it is being torn apart from within.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      Yes, alot of aleination happened. Why say inflamnatory things about groups that represent large voting blocks? I suppose for some idealogy trumps expediency.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      As romney and the republicans alienated large sectors of the population there were just not enough voters left for them to win the election.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 5 years ago

      Conservatives can appeal to these demographics - they have in the past. I think the question is one of being realistic about the demographic facts.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      The question remains, 'what will the GOP do to overcome this demographic disadvantage to this brand and its candidates'. Summed up well, thanks