President Barack Obama has won and the exit polls show why. First and foremost, the share of the electorate that is white dropped from 74% in 2008 to 72%. African Americans accounted for 13% of the total, Hispanics 10%, and Asian Americans and others 5%. The white percentage of the vote will only continue to decline with each new election. The electorate was more favorable to Mr. Obama in a number of ways. Those who voted today gave him a 48% job approval rating, on the higher side than usual. Those who said the country was headed on the right track were 46%, 10 points higher than any pre-election poll. More voters said they were better of than they were a year ago (39%) than said they were worse off (31%). While the economy was indeed cited as the top issue for voters, 52% felt that Mitt Romney's policies would favor the wealthy, while a plurality of 43% said that Obama's policies would be of greater benefit to the middle class.

54% of all voters were women and Obama won handily -- in fact Obama won over 70% of single women. Obama did not perform as well as among younger voters (59% to 37%), it was less than his 66% to 32% mandate from 18-29 year olds in 2008. For all the talk about party representation, 38% of those who voted were Democrat, 32% Republican, and 30% independent.

What happened? A President who was unpopular through most of his term, who generated a lot of partisan antipathy and loads of disappointment among his most loyal partisans, who disappointed his youngest supporters who saw him as one of their own, has won re-election. He now faces an immediate crisis again: the fiscal cliff. A President who never ran anything in his life except a campaign before he became the most powerful man in the world, now must rein in both the loudest and uncompromising forces within his own party and emerge with a clear plan that includes reaching out to his opposition in an inclusive way. He could begin by recognizing the closeness of the popular vote and appointing prominent Republicans to his administration and to a task force that leads this country to fiscal sanity.