Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diversity strikes back, a post-election wrap-up

A few weeks ago, two videos accompanying news releases, posed the challenges facing the major parties, especially the Republicans this year.* Here is the first, which asked the question, Does race matter in this election?

University of Michigan department of political science expert Vincent Hutchings explains how race will play an important role this election.
The answer, of course, was yes. However, let this press release from the University of Virginia, which I included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Obama re-elected edition) on Daily Kos, expand on it with data from Virginia.

University of Virginia: U.Va. Experts: 2012 Election Shows Virginia Is Demographic Bellwether For Nation H. Brevy Cannon
November 7, 2012
In the 2012 election, Virginia found itself in a new role – as one of the most hotly contested battleground states, a bellwether for the nation.

Once reliably red, the commonwealth voted Republican in every presidential election from 1968 through 2004. But Virginians backed Barack Obama in 2008 and re-elected him Tuesday, due largely to demographic shifts that Democrats have skillfully exploited, according to several University of Virginia experts.

Those demographic shifts – the growing relative importance of non-white and women voters – are here to stay, and must be addressed by Republicans if they hope to reverse Democratic gains. But there is no reason Republicans can’t put themselves on the winning side of those shifts, U.Va. experts argue.

We asked a sampling of U.Va. experts for their thoughts hours after the conclusion of the 2012 election.
Ah, yes, women voters. The University of Michigan mentioned their role, too, in Women voters will play a key role in the presidential election, says U-Mich expert.

University of Michigan professor Susan Douglas explains the issues women are interested in and why they play a critical role in this presidential election.
Here's another press release I included in the same Overnight News Digest that addresses how that played out, this time in Massachusetts.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Massachusetts Exit Poll Shows Women Played a Major Role in U.S. Senate Race and Ballot Question 2
November 7, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. – UMass Poll’s exit poll from the Nov. 6 Massachusetts election shows that the gender gap helped propel Elizabeth Warren to victory in a competitive race against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown. The poll shows that women voters preferred Warren to Brown by a margin of 20 percent, while men split evenly between the two candidates. Brown was also faced with an electorate that looked much different than the one that elected him to office in 2010.

The election was clearly influenced by a campaign that focused significantly on women’s issues. “The female vote was an important one this election,” says Maryann Barakso, associate professor of political science and associate director of UMass Poll. “Despite Brown’s substantial efforts to appeal to women voters during the campaign, Warren enjoyed a significant advantage among women, which proved decisive for her victory.”

While the economy was rated as a very important issue by 84 percent of voters, 51 percent said that the issue of abortion was very important for their vote, while 61 percent reported that equal pay was very important. “Voters who saw these women’s issues as very important voted for Warren by a large margin over Brown,” noted Barakso. Moreover, the electorate in general felt that Warren would represent women very well in office when compared to Brown (49 percent to 26 percent). “In the final months of the campaign, we saw increasingly more attention to women’s issues, and this only served to benefit the challenger,” says Barakso.
That 20% gender gap persisted and helped Elizabeth Warren as well as Barack Obama. Now I know what kind of Force was with her.

What about the youth vote? It turns out I have something for that, too. It also works as a proxy to show which of the two candidates people overseas preferred.
U.Va. International Students Picked Obama, Too
H. Brevy Cannon
November 8, 2012
International students and students of politics at the University of Virginia heavily favored President Obama over Mitt Romney in a hypothetical vote for president, according to an informal online poll of U.Va. students conducted Tuesday by the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The poll was emailed to 2,000 international students (undergraduate and graduate) and roughly 850 undergraduate politics majors. It had 777 respondents in the four hours it was open, including 443 self-identified non-U.S. citizens, said politics Ph.D. student Adam Hughes, who created the poll under the supervision of politics professors Nick Winter and Lynn Sanders.

Obama was the favorite by a wide margin among students from every continent. While students from the United States preferred the Democratic candidate by a 3-to-2 margin, students from other countries favored Obama by even larger margins.

Students from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia all favored Obama by at least 78 percent to 18 percent for Romney (see graph). The trend was strongest among European students, 87 percent of whom preferred Obama to 11 percent for Romney.
Yes, the youth vote is still for Obama, and people beyond our borders seem to like him, too.

*I should have written stories about them for Examiner.com when they were newsworthy. Who knows, I might still. Afterall, I'm finding them useful almost a month later.

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