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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
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.
Registration and Lunch
Michael Barone, AEI
Henry Olsen, AEI
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI
Karlyn Bowman, AEI
For more information, please contact Jennifer Marsico at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.862.5899.
For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org or 202.862.5829.
Michael Barone, a political analyst and journalist and a resident fellow at AEI, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal co-author of the biennial “Almanac of American Politics” (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.
Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow at AEI. She researches and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, the environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North American Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics resulting from key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the US and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
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. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.
Norman J. Ornstein is a long-time observer of the US Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call called “Congress Inside Out,” and is an election evening analyst for CBS News. He also served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include “The Permanent Campaign and Its Future” (AEI Press, 2000), “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track” (with Thomas Mann, Oxford University Press, 2006) and, most recently, The New York Times bestseller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” (with Thomas Mann, Basic Books, May 2012).