Blacks voted at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and for the first time in history may also have voted at a higher rate than whites.
White evangelical Protestants voted as heavily for Republican candidate Mitt Romney as they did for the GOP candidates in 2008 and 2004, and they made up about the same share of the electorate as they did in the two previous elections.
Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30, down from 66% in 2008, but his youth support may have been an even more important factor in his victory this year.
The record number of Latinos who voted this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation.
Postelection talk of "lessons learned" is often exaggerated and misleading, and so it is in 2012, writes Pew Research President Andrew Kohut.
Barack Obama retained enough support from key elements of his base to win re-election, even as he lost ground nationally since 2008. In particular, Obama maintained wide advantages among young people, women, minorities, and both the less affluent and the well-educated.
The minority groups that carried President Obama to victory yesterday by giving him 80% of their votes are on track to become a majority of the nation's population by 2050. They currently make up 37% of the population, and they cast a record 28% of the votes in the 2012 presidential election.
Obama's margin of victory was much smaller than in 2008 and he lost ground among white evangelical Protestants and white Catholics. But the basic religious contours of the 2012 electorate resemble recent elections.
Obama's national vote share among Hispanic voters is the highest seen by a Democratic candidate since 1996. The Latino vote was an important building block for Obama's win in key states, including Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
Pew Research Center analyzes the electorate, voter turnout and the issues that affected President Obama's reelection win in 2012.