By Michael Collins
The presidential election in 2012 is probably a done deal, barring some calamity that the Obama administration fails to spin in its direction.
The exit polling for the two major primaries so far, Florida and Michigan, show that the Republican vote is concentrated primarily in the suburbs. 62% of Michigan Republican voters and 59% of Florida Republican voters are from the suburbs. That’s 13 and 10 points respectively over the 49% share of the electorate in the 2008 presidential election. Of equal or greater importance, 13% and 25% of the Republican votes came from urban areas (large and medium sized cities). That’s below the 30% share of voters from urban areas in 2008.
In 2008, Obama won 53% to 46%. His 2012 share of urban voters is not likely to diminish. One could argue that any of the current field of Republican candidates would struggle to hit McCain’s 35% urban share. The suburban spit — 50% to 48% Obama — may shift somewhat depending on how well “Halftime in America” sells, i.e. the pseudo recovery. Even if there’s a 5 point shift in suburbia in favor of Republicans, Obama’s urban advantage will carry the day. The rural vote may deliver the same or slightly increased advantage for Republicans. Any changes in this smallest segment of the electorate will be offset by maintenance of the much larger urban advantage. Read the rest of this entry »