Is it possible to win a majority of the white male vote and still lose a national election? Up until now maybe not, but the recent Presidential Election illustrated that yes indeed, it is possible in 2012. The great lesson of the recent election is that we have reached a tipping point when it comes to the demographics of the American electorate and future candidates should be paying attention.
Census numbers tell the story. In the first decade of the new millennium, the Asian-American population increased 43.3 percent, the African-American population 12.3 percent, the Latino community 43 percent — and the white population just 5.7 percent. This is the continuation of a trend, not a new phenomenon. By forging a coalition of women and minority voters, the President won election for a second term despite losing the majority vote of white males.
To summarize a report in USA Today, the most important category in the recent election was women voters. The women’s vote wasn’t about the popularity points, but the fact that more women than men are registered to vote in most states and with a much higher turnout rate at the polls. The President won a majority of women voters by a margin of 55% to 44%. According to exit polls, up to 68% of single women voted for the President. He also won a strong majority of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters of both sexes. So despite losing the male vote by a margin of 53% to 46% President Obama was able to win reelection.
This new coalition that wins without carrying a majority of white males will have an impact on future elections and the demographic strategies of future candidates. Those who choose to ignore this lesson do so at their own peril.