Five things we learned on Election Night – CNN.com
1. The GOP has a Latino problem
“If we don’t do better with Hispanics, we’ll be out of the White House forever,” says Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro, who was the national Hispanic co-chair of Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
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“The big issue Republicans are going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue,” adds Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W. Bush’s first press secretary. “Republicans are going to have to find a different way forward.”
The national exit polls tell the story. Latinos are the fastest growing-segment of the population. Their share of the vote expanded from 9% in 2008 to 10% in this election. The president won 67% of the vote four years ago. He increased that to 71% this year.
Latinos were crucial in helping Obama win the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada, and in putting the president in the lead for Florida’s 29 electoral votes. And they were just as important in turning the former swing state of New Mexico into what appears to be an increasingly safe state for the Democrats.
CNN Election Center: 2012 exit polls
If the current trend continues, Arizona and Texas could turn from red to purple.
The 2012 election is a loud wake-up call for the GOP to change its stance on illegal immigration.
And that’s being acknowledged by arguably the best known Latino Republican senator.
“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in a statement Tuesday night.
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2. The youth vote came up big — and the white vote got smaller
A big question heading into Election Day was whether younger voters would show up at the polls.
More of them did than last time.
According to national exit polls, 18-29 year olds increased from 17% to 18% of the electorate from 2004 to 2008. They made up 19% of the electorate this time around. That jump in size from four years ago made up for the president’s drop in capturing the youth vote, from 66% in 2008 to 60% in 2012.
It wasn’t just age, but also race, that worked in the president’s favor.
Obama’s share of the white vote dropped from 43% four years ago to 39% this year. But that was negated by the shrinking of the white vote from 74% of the electorate four years ago to 72% now. And the African-American percentage of the electorate stayed steady at 13%. Some GOP strategists said that the white vote needed to be 74% for Romney to win.
“The youth vote and the black vote turned out once again and that’s to the president’s credit,” Fleischer said.