Much has been made of the president’s unusual coalition in 2008 — huge turnout and overwhelming support from African Americans, the backing of Latinos, the energy of younger voters, the help from college-educated Americans and the role played by unmarried women. Part of Obama’s success was due to the excitement his candidacy generated among these groups four years ago, but part too owed simply to the realities of a nation changing in ways that are favorable to the Democrats.
The tension Obama and his advisers will confront next year is how much those inexorable demographic changes are able to overcome the effects of the economy on many of the voters who elected him four years ago and the backlash to his policies among many voters. Whatever the effect of campaign ads, candidate appearances and unforeseen events, the clash of these two underlying forces will be as important in determining who occupies the Oval Office in 2013.
Two analysts from the progressive Center for American Progress, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, have provided the most comprehensive examination to date of how those factors could affect the vote in 2012. The analysis is called “The Path to 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election.”
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