As hard as it is to believe, it’s been only a little over three weeks since Election Day. But there are already plenty of signs that Republicans are learning many of the wrong lessons from that debacle. For starters, there’s been a lot of excessive emphasis on racial demographics, which actually changed very little from 2008. According to exit polling, the portion of Hispanic voters went up just 1 percentage point, the portion of Asian voters went up just 1 point, and the portion of black voters stayed the same. Meanwhile, the portion of white voters fell 2 points — largely because, as Sean Trende notes, Mitt Romney failed to turn out several million such voters.
Now Senator John McCain says that, when it comes to the life-or-death matter of abortion, Republicans should “leave the issue alone.” Well, it would be hard to have left the issue any more alone than Romney did, and what did it get him? On an issue on which Americans are typically split pretty much right down the middle, exit polling showed that voters favored the legality (59 percent), rather than illegality (36 percent), of abortion in “most” or “all” cases. This suggests that Romney’s silence in the face of Obama’s pro-abortion rhetoric caused some swing voters to shift their position leftward (as people are inclined to do when they hear only one side of an issue advanced) — while millions of pro-life voters apparently sat this one out.