Printed on: November 11, 2012

Face of U.S. elections changing


WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's not just the economy, stupid. It's the demographics -- the changing face of America.

The 2012 elections drove home trends that have been embedded in the fine print of birth and death rates, immigration statistics and census charts for years.

America is rapidly becoming more diverse, and, more gradually, so is its electorate.

Nonwhites made up 28 percent of the electorate this year, compared with 20 percent in 2000. Much of that growth is coming from Hispanics.

The trend has worked to the advantage of President Barack Obama two elections in a row now and is not lost on Republicans poring over the details of Tuesday's results.

Obama captured a commanding 80 percent of the growing ranks of nonwhite voters in 2012, just as he did in 2008. Republican Mitt Romney won 59 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Romney couldn't win even though he dominated among white men and outperformed 2008 nominee John McCain with that group. It's an ever-shrinking slice of the electorate.

White men made up 34 percent of the electorate this year, down from 46 percent in 1972.

"The new electorate is a lagging indicator of the next America," said Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center. "We are midpassage in a century-long journey from the middle of the last century, when we were nearly a 90 percent white nation, to the middle of this coming century, when we will be a majority minority nation."