Nov. 5, 2008 -- Barack Obama built his victory out of a concrete base of near unanimous support from black voters, layered with overwhelming support from Hispanics, young people and enough white voters to remake the partisan landscape in the United States.
Coming off two terms under a Republican president who leaves office very unpopular and presiding over the deepest economic discontent in at least a generation, voters have shifted toward the Democratic Party. The proportion of voters who identify themselves as Republican is now at its lowest point since 1980.
Obama's success comes at a time of astonishing anxiety. Voters went to the polls worried about health care, upset with the current president, opposed to the war in Iraq and concerned that the nation's economy is veering off the rails.
At this time of great uncertainty, voters were evenly divided on which candidate has the experience to serve effectively as president. But a clear majority said Obama was more in touch with their concerns and in possession of the judgment needed to make a good president.
The foundation of Obama's support came from blacks, who made up 13 percent of the vote. Obama also won nearly 70 percent of the vote of Hispanics. While John McCain was able to win white voters by 54-44 percent, Obama made inroads with them as well.
Nineteen percent of all voters said race was at least somewhat of a factor in their vote; 80 percent said it was not a factor at all.
Those who called race a factor favored Obama over McCain by 53-45 percent. Among those for whom it was not a factor, similarly 51-47, Obama-McCain. There were differences by race.
Whites who called race a factor favored McCain by 61-37. That was just 17 percent of whites. The rest of whites, for whom race was not a factor, went for McCain by a narrower 54-44 percent. Blacks who called race a factor in their vote -- 32 percent of blacks -- favored Obama, like all blacks, almost unanimously. Hispanics who called race a factor -- 22 percent of Hispanics -- favored Obama by 67-33 percent, not far from the vote among other Hispanics. Twice as many overall, 39 percent, called the age of the candidates a factor in their vote. And they favored Obama by 66-33 percent.