Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Nov 5th 2008 at 11:47am UTC

What Really Happened Last Night

Columbia University political scientist and Rich State, Poor State author (and great friend of the Prosperity Institute), Andrew Gelman tells the story in charts, facts and figures.

The youth vote really mattered.

But the country remains split, as Gelman notes, ” The red/blue map was not redrawn; it was more of a national partisan swing.”

One Response to “What Really Happened Last Night”

  1. rs Says:

    While the youth vote mattered… its importance may be over emphasized. We went from a voter turnout rate of 17-18% to 20-21% percent among young voters (according to the talking heads on TV). So we had at most a 4% increase in voter turnout among young voters and a 10-15% dip in their support for republicans.

    I think an even more important shift in voting patterns was the minority vote. Hispanics, this time, went 2-1 for Obama… and the increase in participation for African Americans was equally important. Sure without the youth vote it would have been closer… but without the minority vote it would have been impossible.

    With regard to the electoral map, I would suggest considering changes in the mountain west and the mid-atlantic before suggesting it hasn’t changed. Virginia is now a blue state (blue governor, blue senators, and blue for the president). North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico are now swing states. It seems to me that the electoral map has changed. How much of that is “real” or how much of that was caused by “punish the incumbent party for a bad economy”, I don’t know.

    One thing that did not seem to change was the urban/rural divide. Therein lies the cultural divide and state-level maps really don’t show it. I think the “great sort” of which you speak about often is certainly redrawing the electoral map and reinforcing the urban/rural divide.

    Last comment, I think we may have observed the emergence of a new democratic coalition that will certainly be copied in the future. The combination of progressive and young whites combined with minorities lead to an overwhelming victory for the democrats. Four years ago this was thought to be a loosing combination.