Here’s CNN’s main presidential results page, together with its 2004 counterpart. I note in passing that, at the moment, Obama isn’t doing all that much better than Bush 2004. How many more votes remain to be counted? There had been estimates of more than 130 million voters. If so, then there are up to another 10 million votes out there. (I’m not sure I believe that there are that many.) I’m prepared to be impressed by the Obama campaign’s ground game, but the numbers don’t yet support that. (Recall that from 2000 to 2004, Bush went from 50 million to 62 million votes. Obama will not show that kind of improvement over Kerry. At best, he’s likely to have garnered 6 or 7 million more.)
Here’s CNN’s presidential exit poll, together, once again, with its 2004 counterpart. Note that 18-29 year olds are only 1% more of the electorate this time (18% - 17%), but that Obama did more than 10% better than Kerry in that group. If I’m doing my arithmetic correctly. that amounts to an almost 3 point improvement from Kerry to Obama, enough (in other words) to make Obama the winner.
In 2004, Bush won Protestants 59-40 and Catholics 52-47, evangelicals 78-21, and weekly church attenders 61-39. McCain won Protestants 54-45, but lost Catholics 45-54 (a result that can be accounted for by the non-white Catholic vote, as white Catholics supported him 52-47). He won weekly attenders 55-43 and evangelicals 74-24. That’s roughly a 5 point shift across the board in key Republican constituencies. How to explain it is another question: just a bad Republican year, more outreach from Obama, or both? (I’d have to say that effective outreach in a bad Republican year should probably have produced more of a shift, though Obama’s position on abortion (and his party’s) still remains a liability.)
I’ll likely have more later, but I encourage you, gentle (and not so gentle) readers, to do some comparing yourselves.