WASHINGTON -- Lots of ways exist to analyze who won what in the 2012 election, but one simple rule of thumb provides many of the answers: If a place has sidewalks, odds are the residents voted Democratic.
President Obama won America’s large metropolitan regions -- the 51 regions in the country with populations over 1 million -- 56% to 42%. Within those regions, he did particularly well in core urban counties, which he won by a huge 55-point margin, according to a new analysis by Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank in Washington. Obama also won large majorities in the inner suburban counties and smaller, but still significant, majorities in the slightly less densely populated counties that lie just outside the nation’s big urban centers.
By contrast, Mitt Romney won heavily in small towns and rural counties that lie entirely outside the nation’s urban regions. The Republican carried small metropolitan areas, defined as regions with populations of less than 250,000, by 12 points and carried rural counties by large margins.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, just over half the country’s population lives in the large metro areas that Obama dominated while only about a quarter of the nation lives in the small, lightly populated regions where Romney built his biggest majorities.