White people are still very important to Democratic Party politics, providing 56 percent of Barack Obama’s vote Tuesday night. But Obama’s 39 percent of the non-Hispanic white vote is less than Michael Dukakis got, and a major party’s lowest share in history. It didn’t matter because the other ethnic groups grew as a share of an electorate and Obama won an overwhelming percentage of their votes. Key to this, of course, was the growth of the Latino vote, which has more than tripled its share of the national electorate over the past quarter century. According to exit polls 10 percent of 2012 votes came from self-identified Hispanics, and they delivered a crushing 71-27 percent edge for Obama over Mitt Romney.
The Latino vote was especially crucial in Colorado, which has in the past decade become a liberal bastion that sends two Democratic senators to Washington, has a Democratic governor, and has twice delivered its electoral votes to Obama. Fourteen percent of the state’s voters are Latino, and 75 percent of them went for Obama. In Nevada, it was 18 percent and 70 percent. In New Mexico, the 36 percent Latino electorate seems to have put the state out of reach for Republicans. More ominously for the GOP, the Latino population continues to both grow and grow more Democratic.