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Tuesday's score card

November 08, 2012
  • Democratic supporters celebrate as they watch President Barack Obama give his acceptance speech on a screen at Times Square in New York.
Democratic supporters celebrate as they watch President Barack Obama… (Michael Nagle / Bloomberg )

Everybody knows that President Obama won Tuesday's election, but less clear are the changing trends that swayed elections from California to Maine. Here's our list of the biggest winners and losers.

Winners

Same-sex marriage. History was made Tuesday. See above.

Negative campaigning. The positive tone of Obama's 2008 run was replaced by attack ads vilifying GOP opponent Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch elitist. Romney approved his share of negative ads too, but it was the Obama campaign's recognition that it couldn't win by staying positive that will be remembered by strategists.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, November 11, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 33 Editorial Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Proposition 38: A Nov. 8 editorial said that Molly Munger contributed $32.4 billion toward the passage of Proposition 38. She contributed $44 million.

Latinos. In 2008, Latinos made up about 7.4% of the electorate; today it's roughly 10%. Their overwhelming backing of Obama and other Democrats is widely regarded as a key factor in Tuesday's results, prompting much soul-searching by Republicans about how they can better appeal to this growing demographic.

Higher taxes. Proposition 30 demonstrated that Californians will support higher taxes even in tough economic times -- if they're paid by wealthy people. Obama's reelection demonstrates pretty much the same trend nationwide. The biggest source of new state revenue under Proposition 30 will be individuals who make more than $250,000 a year; Obama wants to hike taxes on couples who make that much.

Losers

The Munger siblings. The children of billionaire investor Charlie Munger plunged into California politics in a big way in 2012, with Charles Munger Jr. spending around $35 million on campaigns to defeat Proposition 30 and pass Proposition 32, while sister Molly Munger, the guiding force behind Proposition 38, contributed $32.4 billion toward its passage. The result: a 0-3 score.

"Super PACs." Despite the hand-wringing that followed the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, super PACs showed that their power to influence elections is limited. After outside organizations poured nearly $1 billion into national races, with most of the money backing Republicans, the GOP failed to make headway in the Senate and lost the presidency.

The "tea party." Tea party backing seems to be beneficial in smaller House districts, but in statewide or national races, the ideological purity demanded by hard-core conservatives may be turning off moderate voters, leading to Senate losses in such states as Missouri and Indiana, where more centrist Republicans would have had a strong shot at winning.

Dishonesty. Wags have described this year's presidential race as a "post-truth" campaign, with both sides issuing statements that kept media fact-checkers busy. But the award for disingenuousness has to go to Romney, whose ever-shifting positions on issues and misleading use of statistics left many voters cold.

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