So how did Obama clinch victory? Was it Hurricane Sandy that sealed the deal or the nascent economic recovery? A lot of people are putting it down to something more prosaic: changing demographics.

If you distil the voting patterns you can see that for the first time in US history the Hispanic Americans swung the presidential election. They appear to have used their 17 per cent of the nation's voting power to re-elect Barack Obama, despite him losing white support in every state recorded.

They have been aided by women and young people of all races. The implications for the country, and for the losing Republican party, are profound.

Sarah Smith reports on the new America which arguably secured Obama's victory - or perhaps more pertinently ensured Romney's defeat.

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