In this paper I examine the fundamental factors that shaped the 2012 presidential campaign and ultimately produced a fairly close but decisive victory for Barack Obama. I argue that the voting patterns seen in 2012 both at the state level and at the individual level reflected an increasingly partisan and polarized electorate.
The paper also discusses some of the long-term trends within the American electorate that contributed to Obama’s victory including growing racial and ethnic diversity and increasing liberalism on social issues. I argue that the 2012 results may signal the emergence, at least in presidential elections, of the long-term Democratic majority predicted a decade ago by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira. [cont. – PDF] [ alt. link: cont. – PDF]
Alan Abramowitz, Emory University