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Election 2012: The Demographic Time Bomb Explodes

Underlying President Obama's swamping the electoral college on election night were the demographic changes throughout the U.S. For the first time, Latinos voted in double-digits (10%). Republicans appear to have taken notice, but is it too late?
November 12, 2012, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Four NBC reporters discuss the nation's demographic change that was an essential component to President Obama's re-election, accumulating 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206 (51% to 48% of popular vote), with Florida's vote determined on Nov. 10. The nation's voters have become increasing racially diverse and less white, and will only continue to do so. For the first time, the Census Bureau reports that 2011 saw 50.4% of all births be of color.

"What happened (Tuesday, Nov. 6) night was a demographic time bomb that had been ticking and that blew up in GOP faces. As the Obama campaign had assumed more than a year ago,

  • the white portion of the electorate dropped to 72%, and the president won just 39% of that vote.
  • he carried a whopping 93% of black voters (representing 13% of the electorate),
  • 71% of Latinos (representing 10%)
  • 73% of Asians (3%)

Obama's demographic edge creates this dilemma for the Republican Party: It can no longer rely on white voters to win national elections anymore."

Obama's demographic edge went beyond the nation' growing racial and ethnic minorities but extended to inevitable generational changes.

"(D)espite all the predictions that youth turnout would be down, voters 18-29 made up 19% of last night's voting population -- up from 18% four years ago -- and President Obama took 60% from that group. "

On the PBS NewsHour on Nov. 08, Jeffrey Brown moderated a panel composed of three Republican strategists to answer the question, "Will the Republican Party Learn to Adapt and Appeal to a Changing Electorate?"

JEFFREY BROWN: "Simple question: What is the number-one lesson Republicans should take from Tuesday's election?"

LESLIE SANCHEZ: "Most importantly, the GOP has failed to adjust to the American demographic realignment, (and particularly Hispanic voters)."

Repeating that theme, Washington Post columnist George Will opines on Nov. 07 that "the Republican endangered by tardiness in recognizing demography is destiny."

"It is surprising that only about 70 percent of Hispanics opposed Romney", quips Will in referencing Romney's assertion to encourage "illegal immigrants into 'self-deportation'."

It should be noted that George Will predicted a win for Romney - with 321 electoral votes to 217 for Obama.

According to the Washington Post, the decline in "the white share of the electorate continued, dropping to 72 percent, down from 74 percent in 2008 and 77 percent in 2004, according to exit polls."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

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Published on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in First Read on NBC News
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