One fact that hasn't been mentioned much since November 4: Barack Obama will be the first president since the beginning of the presidential primary system to have an easier time winning the general election than his party's nomination. (The same thing happened in his election to the US Senate in 2004: After defeating several credible candidates to win the Democratic nomination, Obama crushed sacrificial lamb Alan Keyes in November.) The last remotely comparable situation was in 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower had to outmaneuver the conservative wing of the Republican Party to get the nomination -- in a tough convention fight, rather than in a series of primaries -- and then sailed to election in November against Adlai Stevenson.
This will be an interesting wrinkle when it comes time to redraw the map of the 10 Political Regions of America based on this year's election, since there are more interesting geographical patterns in the primary/caucus races between Obama and Hillary Clinton than in the general election between Obama and John McCain. It's probable that Obama will win renomination in 2012 without much trouble, and that we will revert to the normal situation in which the general election is more closely fought than are the primaries. But how much weight to give the "Hillary Counties" when forecasting the geographical patterns of 2012? If the Republican Party moves farther to the right and becomes essentially a Southern party, will there again be a tough fight for the Democratic nomination (even with an incumbent president) followed by a clear Democratic win in November? And if Obama sails to renomination but runs into trouble in the general election, will the "Hillary Counties" be his undoing after all (four years later than McCain hoped)?