This isn't about Democrats vs Republicans, because about 40% of Americans don't identify with either party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_U.S... Party affiliation isn't nearly enough to explain how close this election was.
Exactly. I've heard some studies that point to a majority of young voters (18-24?) self describe themselves as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. IMHO, neither of the 2 parties fit that bill right now so many people vote along with their particular social issue. A gay friend mentioned to me how hard voting was because she is fiscally conservative, but no way could she vote GOP (not that they are the picture of fiscal responsibility either at this point).
Another friend of mine described his feeling about the election as, "I hated to see Obama win, but I'm equally afraid of the crazy republican right wing. I want a party that is fiscally conservative that also believes in evolution."
It seems that with the vote always being near 50/50 that one of the parties could figure out that sweet spot and satisfy more than 50% of the populace. That would mean taking chances and really challenging the status quo, so it will likely never happen. After last night though, the GOP is at a crossroads and now is probably the best time if there ever was one to really make some changes. Very unlikely though.