Mitt Romney possessed a double-digit lead over President Obama with white voters in the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (53% to 40%), but with minorities accounting for more and more of the voting public, the Republican Party needs to broaden its appeal, say analysts.
In 2008, non-white voters accounted for 26% of the votes, compared to 19% in 2000, and that figure is only going to increase over the next few elections as the United States becomes more diverse and the Hispanic population, in particular, continues to surge.
Chuck Todd, host of The Daily Rundown, noted that four of this year's swing states—Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida—possess voters more ethnically diverse than the national average, while five other battleground states are less diverse: Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and New Hampshire. If Obama carried just those four more diverse states, though, it could be enough to capture the election for him.
"It feels like if Romney finds a way to win this election, which is still a big if, that this will be the last campaign cycle where a Republican can win the presidency narrowly, with—largely on the backs of white voters," said Rundown guest Jonathan Martin of Politico. "They’re going to have to find a way to expand their own map."
Despite Obama's huge leads with African-Americans (94% to 0% in the last NBC/WSJ poll) and Latinos (2-to-1), or perhaps because of it, the Romney campaign and Republican Party seems aware it needs to do something to narrow the gap. For example, a number of Latinos and African-Americans had speaking roles during the Republican National Convention, and Romney's son Craig even recited a part of his speech in Spanish.
But the all-male, all-white ticket might speak louder.
"You had a lot of diversity up on stage, so they’re trying to send a message that 'We’re inclusive' and 'We can serve the needs of minorities as well,' and 'We’re not the old, white-man party of the past,'" said Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press. "Yet, the ticket doesn’t illustrate that so it’s a fundamental problem going forward."