On November 13, the Institute for Education, the Ambassador of Switzerland H.E. Manual Sager, and Mrs. Christine Sager hosted John Zogby, Senior Analyst at AZ Analytics with a “2012 Post Election Analysis“. The salon was held at the Swiss Residence and was attended by ambassadors and diplomats from across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as well as IFE members Mr. Craig Helsing of BMW and Mr. Joe Haggerty of United Way.
Ambassador Sager introduced the salon by explaining that he and his wife were pleased to serve as hosts because of the important partnership between Switzerland and the U.S. He pointed to the more than 600 Swiss companies invested in the U.S. as evidence that the U.S.’s success is very important for the Swiss export market. Finally, he joked that after the 18 months leading up the election, it would be difficult to break from the polls and campaigning cold turkey!
Mr. Zogby began by stating that President Obama won a huge demographic victory, not an ideological one. First, he explained that the Latino vote has grown from 4% of the voting populace in 1992 to 10% in 2012. Moreover, in 2008, President Obama won 67% of the Latino vote and in 2012 he expanded that to over 70%.
Second, Zogby pointed to African Americans as a growing portion of the US electorate. Typically, he said, African Americans account for 10% of the vote and a Democratic presidential candidate can expect support from 90%. In 2008, African Americans accounted for 12.5% of the voting populace and President Obama won 95% of their vote. This time, they accounted for 23% of the total vote and Obama won 93% of their vote.
Third, Zogby pointed to young people as an important demographic in the electorate. He explained that young people in America today have much more of a global sensibility – many more have passports and have traveled abroad than ever before. In 2008, he said, President Obama won 66% of this demographic’s vote. This time, his numbers were slightly lower because of a growing cohort that Zogby referred to as CENGA: college-educated not going anywhere. He explained that the four-year recession is huge when it accounts for one’s entire adult life. Consequently, he saw a growing libertarian interest among young people and a growing distrust in politicians and familiar institutions. This time, President Obama’s victory among young people was largely fueled by single young women, of which he won 71% of the vote. Social issues and reproductive rights were key issues for them.
Finally, the fourth demographic that Zogby discussed was one he referred to as “the creative class.” This demographic works in “knowledge sectors” of arts, media, technology, and entertainment. In 2008, this accounted for 35 million voters, of which President Obama won 67%. Zogby explained that this class tends to cluster in areas that helped swing states for President Obama, such as Northern Virginia, Florida, Southern New Hampshire, Boston, the research triangle in North Carolina (2008), Boulder, and Des Moines.
Zogby explained that Governor Romney’s key demographics included the white vote and evangelicals. Romney needed 66% of the white vote to win, but he only won 61% of their vote. Zogby also explained that today’s evangelical voters are changing, and becoming more interested in issues like social justice (e.g., not as strongly opposed to gay marriage), global warming, and poverty. He added that these voters account for a significant portion of the genuinely undecided voters.
Finally, when asked about the paths to success for the Republican party, Zogby recommended that the GOP focus on two key topics of immigration reform and entrepreneurialism.
Written by Leah Bannon, IFE Fellow