In the end, Barack Obama won re-election comfortably. The Obama political team again demonstrated its ability to get the vote out where it needed it. The margin might have been narrower than in 2004. But it was, in purely operational terms, a more impressive victory; triumphing against the backdrop of a still stuttering economy.
For the Republicans, there’s much to reflect on. The party’s demographic problems are now too serious to ignore. In 2004, Bush won 41% or 44% of the Hispanic vote—depending on which pollster you want to use. But this time, Obama won 72% of Hispanics. Given that Hispanics are the fastest growing group in the US electorate, the Republicans have to address this situation if they are not going to start every presidential race at a significant disadvantage.
Barack Obama has won re-election without a clear second term agenda. This will make it harder for him to push legislation through Congress, where the Republicans remain in control of the House of Representatives. But he has a second term with all the opportunities that this affords.