Barack Obama retained enough support from key elements of his base to win reelection, even as he lost ground nationally since 2008. In particular, Obama maintained wide advantages among young people, women, minorities, and both the less affluent and the well-educated.
Overall, Obama benefited from relatively strong turnout – both nationally and in key battleground states – among young people and minorities. Obama won voters younger than 30 by a somewhat smaller margin than he did four years ago, but these voters made up about as large a share of the electorate as they did in 2008, according to national exit polls conducted by the National Election Pool. Moreover, African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans backed Obama by huge margins.
Nationally, nonwhite voters made up 28% of all voters, up from 26% in 2008. Obama won 80% of these voters, the same as four years ago.
Obama’s support from nonwhites was a critical factor in battleground states, especially Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, blacks were 15% of the electorate, up from 11% in 2008. In Florida, Hispanics were 17% of the electorate, a slight increase from 14% in 2008. While minority compositional gains were not huge, they offset a strong tilt against Obama among white voters. Nationally, Romney won the white vote, 59% to 39%.
Read the full report, Changing Face of America Helps Obama Re-election, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.