If only white people had voted on Tuesday, Mitt Romney would have carried every state except for Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and New Hampshire, according to the news media’s exit polls. Nationally, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote, a towering twenty-point margin over Obama. (Exit polls were canceled in nineteen states by the consortium of news media that run them.)
The pattern is not limited to the South, with its history of racism and segregation. Even in the deepest blue states, white voters went for Romney: 53 percent in California, 52 percent in New York, 55 percent in Pennsylvania.
Liberals hoped that whites who opposed Obama in 2008 would learn toleration and acceptance of racial difference after four years with a black president in the White House. But what happened was the opposite: Romney won 4 percent more of the white vote in 2012 than John McCain won in 2008.
In New York and Wisconsin, Romney won 6 percent more of the white vote than McCain in 2008; in California and Florida, he won 7 percent more; in New Jersey he won 8 percent more. Even in Massachusetts, where Obama’s margin of victory was 61 percent, Romney increased the Republicans’ proportion of the white vote by four percentage points over 2008.
White men of course were more likely to support Romney than white women, and old white men the most likely of all.
What’s the matter with white people—especially old white men? They used to run everything. But their share of the electorate has been falling steadily: twenty years ago whites were 87 percent of the electorate; this year they were 72 percent. Could it be that they resent their loss of power in a country that is becoming more racially diverse every minute? The rest of America wants to know.
While white men voted for Romney, women of all races turned out for Obama last night, striking a blow against political misogyny. Check out Bryce Covert’s coverage here.