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Romney first to win independents big, lose election

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The analysis of the 2012 presidential election just gets worse for the Republican Party.

Pollster Glen Bolger, in an analysis for the moderate Republican Ripon Society's Ripon Forum, mined exit poll data to find that Romney won three out of four "candidate qualities" voters cherish, but still lost. Obama won only the "cares about people like me" category.

Worse, he said, Romney was "the first national candidate in exit polling history to decisively win independents and lose."

He explained: Mitt Romney won three of the four qualities. Voters who selected vision opted for Romney 54%-45%. Those who picked values preferred Romney 55%-42%. Voters focused on strong leadership opted for Romney 61%-38%. Romney lost 18%-81% among voters who said 'cares about people like me' to Barack Obama.

Thus, Romney controlled leadership, vision, and values, yet still lost, because he got blown out on the empathy dimension. This may well have been the first Presidential election where the winner on leadership lost the election anyhow. Prior to the election, if you had said that Romney would win among the 74% of voters choosing those three qualities and would still lose overall, you would not have been believed.

The two biggest challenges the GOP faces, he said: There are far more Democrats than Republicans in the country, and Hispanics are swinging to Democrats. "To have a chance, Republicans have to appeal to Hispanics. It's simple math, but it's hard to do. We have to start today."