AEI Election Watch 2012, Session 7: Election wrap-up
What happened, why, and what it means

Video

Event Summary

On Tuesday, Barack Obama won a sizable Electoral College victory — and a narrow popular-vote victory — over Mitt Romney, ensuring his second term as president. AEI's Election Watch team met two days later to discuss what the election results reveal about the makeup of the American electorate and what they imply for the country's immediate political future. 

Michael Barone explained that although Obama was the clear winner, the victory was not one for big-government ideas, because Obama's campaign was too retrospective and negative. Henry Olsen — whose pre–Election Day memo offering remarkably accurate election predictions has garnered significant praise — acknowledged that the Republican Party needs to become more inclusive if it hopes to win on the national level. 

Among those voters surveyed in the exit polls who said a presidential candidate's most important attribute was that he "cares about people like me," Obama beat Romney by 81 to 18 percent. Because of this, Olsen alleged, the GOP must begin to appeal to a larger, more diverse group of constituents. Ornstein agreed, noting that, as in 2010, the Republicans lost some statewide races that they should have easily won. 

-- Jennifer Marsico

Event Description

Election results often leave us with as many questions as answers, and 2012 will be no exception.  Elections tell us who won, but they do not tell us why and how. During this luncheon session, AEI’s Election Watch team will go beyond the headlines, analyzing the election just two days after the final votes are cast.

The team will examine how different groups of voters cast their ballots, what issues mattered most, when voters decided, and the factors that put the winners on top. They will also discuss what the results mean for the next Congress, and which party is best placed going into the 2014 midterm elections. 

This event will wrap up not only the presidential race, but also the Senate, gubernatorial, and House of Representatives contests. Attendees will be the first to receive the November issue of AEI’s monthly Political Report.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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About the Author

 

Karlyn
Bowman

 

Norman J.
Ornstein

 

Henry
Olsen
  • Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI's National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Mr. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.

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