Change in minority share of
President Obama carried all six of these states. Of the six, the most hotly contested and the state with the narrowest margin was Ohio, where President Obama eked out a 3-point victory (51 percent to 48 percent) thanks to two key factors. One was the minority vote: People of color increased their share of voters by 4 percentage points in Ohio, which was entirely due to an increase in black voters, who gave the president 96 percent of their vote.
The other factor was white working-class voters, a weak group for President Obama in the state during the 2008 election. In that election, Sen. McCain carried these voters by 10 points. The Romney campaign anticipated a large expansion of the Republican margin among these voters, but it was not to be. Gov. Romney’s 14-point margin (56 percent to 42 percent) was an improvement over Sen. McCain’s numbers but proved too modest a gain for his purposes. Indeed, Gov. Romney actually improved more among white college graduates, expanding Sen. McCain’s 1-point margin to a very strong 18-point advantage (58 percent to 40 percent). If Gov. Romney had improved that much among white working-class voters, he would have easily taken the state and its 18 electoral votes.