Women, Youth and Hispanics = President Obama

The Winston Group identifies key areas where the Romney campaign came up short in November:

There were three key groups that were problematic for Romney: women, younger voters, and Hispanics.

  • Women made up the majority of the electorate (53%) and Romney lost them by 11, 44-55. That was slightly better than McCain, who lost by 13, 43-56, but worse than Bush, who lost them by the slim margin of 48-51. In contrast, House Republicans in 2010 carried women by 1, 49-48.

  • Younger voters increased their turnout again this year. In 2004 they were 17% of the electorate; in 2008 they were 18%, and in this election they were 19%. Romney lost them by 23 points, 37-60, which was an improvement over McCain, who lost them by 34. However, Bush did much better in 2004, losing young voters only by 9.

  • Hispanics have also increased as a percentage of the electorate, going from 8% in 2004 to 9% in 2008, and 10% in this election. Romney lost them by the very large margin of 44, 27-71. In 2008, McCain lost Hispanics by 36, 31-67. In contrast, Bush lost Hispanics by just 9, 44-53. Additionally, House Republicans in 2010 did much better than either Romney or McCain, losing Hispanics by 22, 38-60.


Despite an electorate that thought the economy was not doing well under Obama, Romney and many Republicans were unable to effectively win the economic argument. This was the case even though many of the policies Romney supported were viewed favorably by the electorate. But the bottom line was that Romney could not counter the Obama narrative that he wanted to go back to the policies that got the country in trouble in the first place. This was largely due to his campaign’s strategic decision to try to make the election solely a referendum on Obama. As a result, there was little clear rationale for a Romney presidency, other than that he would not be Obama. That was not enough to win, as the electorate was looking for solutions and an explanation of how each candidate would govern.

Obama achieved 93.5% of [the vote] he got in 2008. While there are still some additional votes to be added, at this point, Obama got about 4.5 million fewer votes this year than in 2008. Those voters did not vote for Obama this time, but they did not move to Romney either. They were a huge pool of voters that were obviously unhappy with Obama but did not have a reason to vote for his opponent. The inability to identify and reach these disillusioned voters was a significant problem for the Republican campaign.


  1. wholefoodsrepublican
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    include income, and then perform multivariate analysis, anyone?

  2. Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Non-white women, non-white youth and Hispanics, actually.

    White women voted for Romney, 56-42. Minority females, however, voted utterly in lock step for Obama, particularly black women (whose votes for Obama resembled the sort of thing you’d expect to find in a one-party dictatorship).

    Whites aged 18-29 voted for Romney, 51-44-5. Yeah, even the most addled demographic ever largely managed to clue in and to figure things out, provided the specter of politics by pure racial identity was removed from the equation.

    But ultimately what gave us another four years of Obama was that millions upon millions of white (chronologically) adult males stayed home and didn’t vote. That’s the ultimate ghastly irony of this year’s election cycle.

  3. Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t challenge much of what is written above, but an article in the Weekly Standard makes clear that the overwhelmingly important factor in Obama’s win was not the much-cited demographics. It was the fact that the singles vote broke dramatically for Obama and that the number of singles voting was dramatically higher than in 2008.

    See this: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/nation-singles_664275.html

    The simple truth is that married people are much more conservative in their belief systems than are single people, and vote accordingly. In fact, the article concludes with the following shocking suggestion:

    “Instead of trying to bribe single America into voting Republican, Republicans might do better by making the argument​—​to all Americans​—​that marriage is a pillar of both freedom and liberalism. That it is an arrangement which ought to be celebrated, nurtured, and defended because its health is integral to the success of our grand national experiment.”

    This is not a matter of foisting conservative social issues down unwilling throats. It is simply a matter of recognizing and celebrating the great boon that marriage is to any society, that it is the basic building block of any stable nation — and that we abandon it at proven great price. The by-product of re-establishing marriage as the essential social institution it has been for many thousands of years just happens to be electing Republicans to office.

    • C'ville
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s not likely to happen as long as welfare system is so large.

  4. MikeN
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Bush did not get 44% of the Hispanic vote.

    Is there any other polls or vote results that suggest Romney got 18% of the vote among black men as Pew reported?

  5. MikeN
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    Republicans are following my advice and throwing fiscal conservatives out of the party. John Boehner has agreed to large tax increases, and they are throwing the Tea Party conservatives out of power in House committees.

    • Waingro
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’d very interested to hear you elaborate on this “advice”. Thanks.

    • Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      brilliant advice…dump the core principles of the party…fiscal conservatism which Americans still support in large numbers. But keep the whack job right wing religious and social conservative nutballs that the overwhleming majority of America doesn’t support.

      If the GOP dumps the idea of fiscal conservatism we are done nationally as a party for the next 50 years. Because in a battle to out democrat a democrat (ie give away more of the taxpayer farm) the real democrat will win every time over the republican acting like a democrat.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Shane it was those so called “wack job right wing religious and social conservatives nutballs” that won the House in 2010, and maintained the House in 2012. They’re also responsible for all of the Republican Governors and State Assemblies that have turned red.

    • Dave
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:46 am | Permalink | Reply

      This is actually an interesting idea. I think it’ nuts but interesting. What would a party that met democrats on spending and giveaways to key special voting interests but outlawed abortion in the constitution, embraced strict moral codes of conduct on public media broadcasts, removed funding for birth control, eliminated federal funding of stem cell research, mandated the concept of God in church and state, promoted the concept of one Christian God in the country and used federal funds to support that concept, fought to reduce the influence of the study of evolution in the classroom, wrote the man-women one union concept into the constitution, and waged war on state rights to allow same sex marriage? Oh and while they were at it, fought to embrace the idea of man as the center of creation with eminent domain of environment and aggressive exploitation of environment for man’s benefit?

      That’s the socon’s agenda more or less.

      So we’d have a socialist country dependent on big government and the taxes of big government without many of the social benefits of party’s that support big government. Basically like living in a Northern European country (Sweeden, etc) with their 60% tax rate, free healthcare, etc. but with Taleban-like social rule. LOL.

  6. John Smith
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    The most telling stat was that Romney led by a large margin on all important issues but was way behind on the ridiculous “who cares about people like me” idea

    • Kevin Paradine
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Basically, he was a crappy politician – entirely waffly and milquetoast – saddled with a party full of disparate ideologues who gave him about zero flexibility to offer any kind of innovative solution. Every message had to be carefully measured to not offend significant parts of the base. Not caring about the poor and minorities are of interest to some of those ideologues. In essence, he was 1988 George Bush. The problem with being 1988 George Bush was that a. he was running against an incumbent and b. the country isn’t the same as in 1988 – more’s the pity. Oh, and no Lee Atwater to race-bait for him. Then there’s early voting and his lack of personal affability and …it was just a total loss. I feel like an idiot for not seeing it coming – or willfully disbelieving, as I seem to remember understanding this back in the spring until I became wild-eyed in regards the opportunity to oust Obama. Just fooling myself.

      The party has been destroyed by GWB. It can no longer get a candidate over the top.

      • C'ville
        Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Uh, Romney wins with Bush’s election year demographics.

      • MikeN
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        The GWB campaign would have won this election. For some reason these problems only came out after the election, while beforehand we were told about the excellent Romney ground game with lots of in person voter contacts. Afterwards people say it was just a tiny office while the BUsh campaign was firing on all cylinders.

  7. me
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    ll candidates basically have to be likable to win. History teaches that. Issues hardly matter, most of the electorate cannot even define them accurately with respect to which side holds what-they merely gut level pick and elect people most caring about folks like them. Someone like Romney was suicide, and Santorum had better chances to going toe to toe with Obama, despite the wrong assumptions of moderates in this party. The Establishment wonks predictably all about expedience are now dumping the ficons after the same group cheered talk of dumping socons. How fitting.

    You cannot win at least long term without principles, and contrast. Trying to be Dem lite is folly, yet many on our side persist with that approach suicidally…

  8. me
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is it not amazing that all the socons, who preach marriage are being proven right? Ficons keep deluding themselves into thinking neutrality on social issues will somehow be independent of a big spending gov, which is idiocy. The excesses and victim pandering not opposed by the right will NEED a big state, a big SPENDING state to pay for free abortions (when sex outside marriage is advocated) and contraception inevitably morphs from “dont want an abortion? dont have one!” to expecting ALL taxpayers, prochoice or not, to finance abortions and violate the church on contraceptive mandates because that is the inevitable result of liberal thinking unchecked.

    Yet the ficons in the GOP have this fantasy that they can separate the 2. Liberals do not. They are both socially liberal and fi-libs, yet our side somehow deludes itself into having one or the other, fi-con and socially neutral or even tolerant, and social con and big gov. The opposition should be both fi-con and so-con, with libertarian floral notes, to have any long term prospects.

    Pandering is idiocy, and the fact that it needs to be explained at all is telling…

    • Kevin Paradine
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      This attitude will never win another national election. Period. The country changed, get over it.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink | Reply

      Just because the country has changed for the worse, doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards to meet them on the way down.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        If you want to win, you do.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Like hell if I will. I had a better upbringing than that.

    • Dave
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      “when sex outside marriage is advocated) ”

      Dude, do you even have a television? From the internet to movies to Disney channel television programs, that’s the message youth is bombarded with everywhere for decades. And every year it gets a little louder. Do you remember the Abercrombie and Fitch clothing (I mean no-clothes) billboards?

  9. John Fisher
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If the GOP ever figures out how to max the WHITE ADULT MALE vote, they will not lose another presidential election for the next 30 years.

    • Prescient11
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Figure out how to bring union voters back to the table and you will have it.

  10. Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What do the republicans chances are to win if Hillary Clinton is nominated in 2016? Many are speculating she would win without much of a fight

    • C'ville
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      She’s old and haggard looking but she’ll have a 30 percent minority electorate. That gets you 25 points right there, then just need 26 of the remaining 75. Probably GOP is done in presidential elections and just need to keep a stiff backbone were we keep power and wait while it all unravels. That’s probably the realistic view.

  11. C'ville
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Still missing major fact: Romney won white women by 12, including single white women, and won white youth, including white youth females. Minorities skew single women vote because of number unmarried and youth because tipping point for them is in the below 30 demographic. The bulk, not all, want bug government and entitlements. Californization of America.

  12. Prescient11
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I want to know, has anyone explained why Ras was so wrong in his party ID?????


    • Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t seen anything on that. Easily one of the great mysteries of this cycle.

      • Prescient11
        Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, very much so. I was very disturbed by that since he had always underestimated R support previously.

        Also, I do want to compliment you on this site, fantastic work.

        Unfortunately, the wrong guys won, but what are you gonna do.

        Time to roll up our sleeves and put a real limited government conservative on the ticket. Who comes from the middle class and didn’t put his name on obamacare lite. imho.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        We fought the good fight but apparently we need more time in the wilderness before we can get the levers of power back. Thanks for visiting the site and offering great comments.

  13. Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We’re not that far in the wilderness. Look at what’s going on at the micro level. We’re winning the states. Gun control, right-to-work, and so on.

    We can quash a good chunk of the whole “war on women” crap by dodging the birth control issue completely. Let’s push the FDA to make the pill available over the counter. That dramatically increases it’s availability (Amazon could sell it), will encourage price competition, removes insurance coverage from the picture, and is consistent with the principals of smaller government. I’ve bounced this idea off a few economic conservative leaning female friends around the country who voted Obama because of birth control and (to a much lesser degree) abortion. 2 of the 6 would definitely have switched to Romney, 3 were on the fence, and 1 still would have gone Obama.


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