Non-white voters delivered a wake-up call to Republicans Tuesday night. Turning out in droves for Obama, Latino voters alone split 71% for Obama compared to Mitt Romney’s 27%.
High voter turnout by minorities reflected a huge demographic shift that Republicans ignored at their own peril.
The Asian-American community, too, heavily favored Obama, splitting 73% for the president and just 26% for Romney. Although Romney bested Obama among white women, the president captured the majority of votes with minority women of all races, including a whopping 96% of the African-American women vote. Close to 70% of Latinos who are registered to vote turn out during elections, and of that group, Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-1, the Washington Post reported.
“The browner the voters, the bluer the state, that’s an unfailable pattern,” Lynn Sanders, associate professor at the University of Virginia, told msnbc.com.
In key swing states Colorado and Nevada, high Latino voter turnout benefited Obama, where he captured 70% of the Latino vote in both states, NBC News reported.
“What we’ve seen is our expectations surpassed,” Victoria Defrancesco Soto, msnbc and NBCLatino contributor, told Rachel Maddow Tuesday. “In Nevada and in Colorado we saw close to 90% of the Latino vote go for Democratic President Barack Obama.”
The candidates presented divergent plans for immigration reform during their campaigns. Romney called Arizona’s controversial policies on immigration, which include the so-called “show me your papers” law that requires immigrants to show legal documentation, a "model" for the nation during a CNN debate in the GOP primary.
During the hard-fought Republican primary, Romney also suggested that, under his administration, restrictions to employing illegal immigrants would be so severe that they would "self-deport" due to the terrible living conditions.
Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, also said that he would oppose the Dream Act, which would provide illegal immigrants who attended college or served in the military a path to citizenship.
In contrast, President Obama issued an executive order stopping the deportations of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors, a popular move in the Latino community.
Although he stated that he did not support Obama's order, Romney seemed to soften his stance nearer to Election Day, saying, "I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," in an interview with The Denver Post.
More than just a referendum on the candidates’ immigration policies, the Latino turnout
In Florida, where Cuban-Americans reliably vote Republican, an influx of Puerto Rican residents to the I-4 corridor in Orlando shifted the vote in the county to Obama, delivering what NBC News’ Chuck Todd called a “demographic shellacking.”
“People have been saying Latino voters are a sleeping giant,” Sanders said. “It’s manifest now, it’s just going to keep growing.”