Why Obama Won: Explaining the Patchwork Vote

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Patchwork Nation Director Dante Chinni explains voter patterns by community type at the It's A Free Country Super Tuesday party.

How did Obama win? In part, by capitalizing on a powerful set of issues in the Democrats favor in 2012.

11:59 — Why Obama Won

When the many stories of 2012 are written, there should be a special focus paid to the suburban counties Patchwork Nation calls the Monied Burbs. Those counties have become a reliable Democratic constituency in recent elections and, when all the votes are counted, 2012 will likely show just how strongly.

Obama won the election last night because of a Midwestern firewall, but also because of a firewall in the Burbs. At this writing Obama leads in the Monied Burbs by 5 points - as you can see on WNYC's election night map. That’s less than he won them by in 2008, but more than the Democratic candidates won them by in 2000 and 2004. Their leaning toward Democrats seemed to grow more solid when you consider the situation working against the Democratic incumbent this year this year – a long recession, a feeling that the country is on the “wrong track.”

What drove it? We’ll dig into that more in the days and weeks ahead, but sitting here on Election Night two big things:

1) The Monied Burbs are better off than other parts of the country. They recovered from the recession sooner and the booming stock market helped their investments (they are the more heavily invested of all the Patchwork Nation types). So they were a harder sell on the idea that “things had to change.”

2) The more moderate social stances in the Burbs – on issues like gay marriage and abortion – pushed them toward the Democrats on that front as well.

That was a powerful set of issues in the Democrats favor in 2012. See a breakdown of the demographics captured by exit polls below.