Demographics and voting: What did we learn in 2012?

Last week we delved in to the demographics behind the election results. I personally find this fascinating as it seems it could be another way to really have some honest discussion on race, gender, class and even religion. Chatter around this new coalition of women, people of color and young people continues, especially as the Republican Party continues to look inward.

As one who monitored the election for my role on The Daily Circuit, I noticed a lot of speculation related to Latino voters, women voters, young people and African-Americans. Talking points aside, were you like me in wondering just who makes up these groups and what really are their concerns beyond the talking points?

The media narrative didn’t truly evolve the often negative narratives told of African-American voters. Certainly, they can’t all think alike and have the same life experiences that would affect their view politics and government. Additionally, we never learned about Native American voters, especially here in the upper Midwest where the population made a difference in one hotly contested Senate race (Montana’s Jon Testor) and in one upset race (North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp).

Neither did we hear much about Asian-American voters, the fastest growing population group in America. Towards the end of the cycle, I finally did notice reporting in non-mainstream media that one in three Asian American voters were undecided. This population is growing in Virginia and Nevada, two swing states. A one size fits all approach won’t work because like the Latino voting bloc, there is much nuance within this demographic and the policies that would speak to it.

As the chatter continues through the political punditry and within the political parties, what advice or insight would you give parties and candidates regarding outreach and election strategy? Or what did you notice this year about outreach to specific voting groups (men, women, young/senior, racial or religious)? Are you like me, a voter of color, who has some thoughts on this? Are you a voter who is not of the Christian faith and have thoughts on the role faith played in voter outreach? Let’s bring the conversation back to us the voters. As we saw on Election Day, there is power in our votes.

-Meggan Ellingboe, assistant producer