Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin on the Obama Coalition

If you want the definitive take on how the Democrats have capitalized on the country’s changing demographic and socioeconomic composition, and implicitly its changing norms surrounding marriage and family life, you should read Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin on “The Return of the Obama Coalition.” You’ve heard about the surge in the share of minorities in the electorate (an increase of two percentage points relative to 2008) and young voters (an increase of one percentage point), but I was struck by the ideological composition of the electorate:

Liberals were 25 percent of voters in 2012, up from 22 percent in 2008. Since 1992 the percent of liberals among presidential voters has varied in a narrow band between 20 percent and 22 percent, so the figure for this year is quite unusual. Conservatives, at 35 percent, were up one point from the 2008 level, but down a massive 7 points since 2010. 

As Artur Davis has observed, the conservative number is somewhat misleading in that a nontrivial share of self-identified conservative voters are African Americans and Latinos who are strongly disinclined to back GOP candidates. 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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