If you’re looking for reasons to be confident of a Barack Obama win tonight, it’s worth noting Mitt Romney’s share of the white vote in the final pre-election polls:
Given the likely composition of the electorate—74 percent white, 26 percent nonwhite—Mitt Romney needs to win at least 61 percent of white voters. But in this average, he roughly repeats George W. Bush’s 2004 performance. Then, this was good enough to eke out a small win in the popular vote. Now, it brings him within striking distance of 50 percent, but no further. What’s more, this is probably the last presidential race where Republicans can count on maximizing their share of white voters to win the election; as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein points out, the white share of the electorate has steadily declined in every election since 1992, from 88 percent of all voters to 74 percent four years ago.
Which is to say that if Republicans had made efforts to bring Latino voters in—or at least, not alienate them—they would be in better shape. The same goes for African American voters—a small share of whom have always voted for GOP presidential candidates—and Asian Americans. As it stands, Republicans are far behind with each. Or, as South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham recently put it to Politico, “If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts. We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”