Why Obama won the 2012 election (in one chart)

December 6, 2012

The conservative polling group Resurgent Republic is out with a great new graphic this morning breaking down turnout among key demographic groups in the 2012 election.

The chart, better than about anything else we've seen, shows why President Obama won reelection so handily.

And in the face of what appeared to be a Democratic enthusiasm gap, no less.

You'll notice that most of the groups that saw increased turnout from 2008 favored Democrats. And in almost every case, they were judged to be among the less-enthusiastic voter groups before the election.

On the flip side, Republicans had many of the more enthusiastic voter blocs, yet almost all of them turned out at or below 2008 levels.

Hispanic voters, while measuring on the lower end of the enthusiasm spectrum, saw one of the biggest increases in turnout between 2008 and 2012 -- much of it due to rapid population growth in that community. The same goes for young voters, who are notoriously unenthusiastic about voting, but came up big for Obama.

Among GOP-friendly groups, married people, seniors and Christians either saw a drop in turnout or remained the same as 2008, despite having some higher levels of enthusiasm. And white people, of course, saw a drop in turnout due to the growing minority population.

The chart is a stark reminder that measuring enthusiasm is difficult, but also that the electorate that turned out to vote one month ago today was just very, very good for Obama.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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