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June 3, 2013
It was whites who stayed home
There were two big shocks for me on election night 2012:
1) Obama beat Romney. I had concluded that 2012 would look a lot like 2004, i.e. a 50-49 victory with about 290 Electoral votes. I did not subscribe to the landslide (i.e. Dick Morris) but did see a narrow Romney victory!
2) All of the talk about the "hispano" vote. I had looked at anecdotal evidence and did not see a "hispano" wave on election day. So I was surprised with all of the conventional wisdom that "hispanos" had reelected Obama.
It turns out that "hispanos" did not really show up after all, according to the CIS, or Center for Immigration Studies:
"Hispanics were 8.4 percent of voters (11.2 million), close to the 8.9 percent the Center for Immigration Studies projected prior to the November election.1 If Hispanic turnout had been what it was in 2008, 450,000 more Hispanics would have voted. "
Unfortunately for Romney, whites also stayed home:
"If white turnout had been what it was in 2004, 4.7 million more of them would have voted. Of the 4.7 million whites who sat home on Election Day relative to 2004, 4.2 million did not have a bachelor's degree."
It looks like Romney had a "white" not "hispano" problem.
Don't get me wrong. The GOP has to attract more "hispanos." I like the opportunity message that you are hearing from Senator Cruz of Texas.
However, we can not forget about low income whites, or a large segment of the population that feels disconnected from both parties.
We should also consider the impact of the destructive attacks on Romney. He was made out to be "a bloody capitalist" with no concern for the guy at the plant floor. I believe that these "unfair" attacks worked and that's why so many low income whites stayed home. They couldn't vote for Obama and chose not to vote for Romney either!