The outcome of the 2012 election could be determined by the electoral preferences of minority groups.
The African American population in America has supported the Democrat Party since they became partr of the New Deal Coalition in the 1930s. In 2012 it is not whether or not African Americans will vote for Obama but whether or not they will vote at all.
The African American vote could be depressed by black apathy in the wake of Obama’s perceived failure to deliver on his policy pledges and the continued racial inequality in America. Alternatively it could be attributed to the rise of voter- ID and registration laws enacted since 2010 with the purpose of keeping African Americans away from the polls.
Another key group in 2012 will be the Hispanics: historically Hispanics have backed the Democrat party however 2000 and 2004 George W Bush polled strongly with Latino voters and commentators began to question whether or not the voting patterns of Latinos would follow those of other white ethnic groups- as time passed money would matter more than ethnic origin. This piece in the Economist suggests the Republicans have squandered the opportunity to increase their support amongst Latinos and suggests that this group will continue to favour Obama.