The election results in 2006 and 2008 constitute the kind of one-two punch that is rare in modern American political history. It would be silly to portray this year's election as a minor hiccup. The nation elected a liberal African-American Democrat from the North as president, and it gave him a majority of all votes cast.But wait, there's much more. Here's an extended passage from Rothenberg's analysis:
Moreover, in the past two elections, Democrats gained at least a dozen Senate seats and at least 50 House seats, taking total control of Congress. At the state level, they now have 4,090 state legislators to the GOP's 3,221.
If demographics are indeed destiny, then the 2008 national exit poll at the very least raises questions about where the GOP goes from here.
For the first time ever, whites constituted less than 75 percent of the electorate, a considerable problem for the Republican Party given its historical problems attracting minorities….
While the highly anticipated surge in younger voters never materialized, those voters younger than 30 who did participate went overwhelmingly for Obama, 66 percent to 32 percent. That 34-point margin was almost four times the 9-point margin that Kerry had with voters younger than 30.
As many analysts have pointed out, if these younger voters carry that Democratic preference with them through their lives, they could constitute a strongly Democratic cohort for the next 40 or 50 years.
Just as bad for Republicans is the fact that over the past dozen years, there has been a noticeable shift in voters' attitudes toward government, according to an exit poll question that has also been asked for years in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.
In December 1995, only a third of respondents said that "government should do more to solve our country's problems," while 62 percent said that government "is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." But in this year's exit poll, a slim majority, 51 percent, said government should do more, while only 43 percent said it was doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.
That's a potentially significant change in attitudes that suggests voters may be more willing to accept a more activist government that regulates business and seeks to affect outcomes, rather than merely ensures a neutral playing field.