Why Obama Won: Explaining the Patchwork Vote

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Patchwork Nation Director Dante Chinni explains voter patterns by community type at the It's A Free Country Super Tuesday party. (Matthew Septimus/WNYC)

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.


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Comments [6]

Nofuzzydreams from Atlanta

Flawed analysis. These monied burbs are in blue states. But I get it.
They are the only ones that count.

Nov. 07 2012 10:14 PM
Norman Douglas from nyc

obama was a black president for the first four years, now, he is a white president, unless you intend to keep dissing his mama.

Nov. 07 2012 10:42 AM
WNYC Listener from this great City

I really appreciate this approach and analysis. Thank you, Patchwork Nation and WNYC, for your valuable work. I'm looking forward to learning more from your reports in the days to come.

Nov. 07 2012 04:11 AM

The polls closed at 7 funny how virginia randomly turns

Nov. 07 2012 12:30 AM

Please keep WNYC listeners current on the 25th & 27th congressional districts , esp the Hockel vs Collins race that was key Dem capture in special election; and the 18th Hayworth vs Mahoney. Thanks.

Nov. 06 2012 10:32 PM
Ellen Falls from Berlin, NY

You've got Maine blue, but a plurality for Romney. Is that intentional?

Nov. 06 2012 08:38 PM

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