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  7 States Where Demographics Haven't Determined Their Political Destiny -- Yet
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Author Topic: 7 States Where Demographics Haven't Determined Their Political Destiny -- Yet  (Read 1496 times)
pppolitics
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« on: August 21, 2019, 09:38:13 am »

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It is an ongoing trend that has only accelerated since the 2016 presidential election: Americans are cleaved into two camps shaped not by ideology but demographic factors.

A person's race, educational attainment and the population density of the place where they live increasingly shapes whether they'll vote as a Republican or Democrat. "The stark demographic and educational divisions that have come to define American politics were clearly evident in voting preferences in the 2018 congressional elections," according to the Pew Research Center. "There were wide differences in voting preferences between men and women, whites and nonwhites, as well as people with more and less educational attainment.

In conclusion, Republican candidates perform strongest among white voters without a college degree who live in rural areas. And Democrats, conversely, perform best among minority voters with at least an undergraduate degree who live in or near urban areas.

To better understand how these factors are shaping each state's political leanings, we used federal data to rank the most rural states to the most urban states, the most white states to the least white and those with the lowest rate of undergraduate degrees to the highest.

Once we compiled these rankings, we averaged the three numerical ratings for each state and used that to create a list that orders them from those that most favor Republicans demographically to those states that most favor the Democrats:

1. West Virginia

2. Kentucky

3. Maine

4. Wyoming

5. Arkansas

6. Iowa

7. Montana

8. North Dakota

9. South Dakota

10. Idaho

11. Mississippi

12. Indiana

13. Alabama

14. Vermont

15. Missouri

16. Tennessee

17. Oklahoma

18. Wisconsin

19. New Hampshire

20. Ohio

21. South Carolina

22. Michigan

23. Louisiana

24. Nebraska

25. North Carolina

26. Alaska

27. Minnesota

28. Pennsylvania

29. Kansas

30. Oregon

31. New Mexico

32. Utah

33. Delaware

34. Georgia

35. Arizona

36. Washington

37. Nevada

38. Texas

39. Florida

40. Rhode Island

41. Virginia

42. Colorado

43. Illinois

44. Connecticut

45. New York

46. Massachusetts

47. Maryland

48. Hawaii

49. California

50. New Jersey

Broadly speaking, this list fits with recent voting patterns. States that have voted solidly Republican in recent years -- including Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia and Wyoming -- rank towards the top of the list. California, Hawaii and New Jersey, meanwhile, have voted Democratic and are near the bottom. Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which fall at the midpoint, have voted for candidates of both parties.

The makeup of key presidential battleground states illustrates why some have moved away from one party and towards another in recent elections.

These states, ordered from the most demographically friendly to Republicans to the most demographically friendly to Democrats, are Maine, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Virginia and Colorado.

Colorado and Virginia, which were competitive if not Republican-leaning just a few election cycles ago, have moved firmly towards the Democratic camp as race, education and population density factors have become a bigger influence on voting patterns.

At the same time, Iowa and Ohio, where the three demographic factors lean more towards the Republicans, are now harder for Democratic presidential candidates to compete in.

Perhaps the most interesting states on our list, however, are those where the state's underlying demographics are at odds with recent electoral results. That's the case in seven states.

The purple-to-blue states of Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota are the three most obvious places where Republicans ought to be doing better than they are according to demographic factors. And the historically redder states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas should all be more friendly to Democrats based on demographics alone.

For Arizona, Georgia and Texas, Democrats did begin to see partial gains in the 2018 elections, as the three states' populous suburbs began moving towards Democratic candidates. In Arizona, the Democrats seized a Senate seat and other statewide offices in Arizona in 2018, and the party came closer to winning the Georgia gubernatorial race than in several election cycles. In Texas, the showing by U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke was the strongest by a statewide Democratic hopeful in three decades, and increasing diversification in the suburbs has prompted retirements by several Republican House incumbents.

Still, demographics have not yet become political destiny in these seven states. Here are some explanations given by political observers in these state as to why.

 

Weak State Parties

In Minnesota, the state GOP's accumulation of financial debt has made it "financially uncompetitive" with Democratic candidates, says Carleton College emeritus political scientist Steven Schier. This has hampered the GOP's ability to make gains in the state and contributed to the demise of the Independence Party, which had sometimes helped Republicans win three-way races in the state.

In Florida, the Democratic Party has been unable to reverse the sharp decline in its party registration edge, due in part to "a lack of a sustained voter registration effort," says Florida Democratic strategist Steve Schale.

 

Regional and Ideological Differences

Put simply, "a Maine Republican may not be identical to a Republican in Texas," says Northeastern University political scientist Costas Panagopoulos.

For instance, Maine and New Hampshire are part of historically moderate New England and have among the nation's lowest rates of religious attendance, a statistic correlated with Democratic leanings. Minnesota, meanwhile, has always had a streak of progressivism. These tendencies keep these states Democratic despite their heavily white and relatively high rural status.

In Florida, Cuban-Americans have historically voted for Republicans at much higher rates than other Hispanic groups, undercutting the Democrats' seeming demographic advantage in that state.

 

Low Turnout by Minority Voters

In Arizona and Texas, white voters have tended to turn out at higher rates than Hispanic voters, enabling Republicans in those states to punch above their demographic weight.

 

An Influx of Older Voters

White retirees have long flocked to Florida, but the recent inflows, especially from the Midwest, have tended to be disproportionately Republican, making areas like the Villages in west Central Florida some of the most reliably Republican precincts in the nation. "White retirees in Florida tend to be wealthier, more Republican and more likely to turn out to vote," says University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett. "For at least a decade, demographers and political analysts have been predicting that Democrats would make a comeback in Florida as the state became less white, but to date, Republicans are holding their own."

 

Incentives from Low Tax Rates

In red states such as Florida, one attraction for newcomers is low taxation, and that has helped maintain a narrow but persistent GOP edge there. "The state GOP has always held the line on tax increases and has tried to push through tax cuts every year," Jewett says.

Still, economic factors can be unpredictable. A healthy economy may eventually tip the scales towards the Democrats in states where economic development attracts growing numbers of educated, diverse workers into the state, says Stuart Goodman, a former Republican official who is a principal at Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs in Phoenix.

As employees relocate to Arizona from bluer states such as California, "they are impacting the political environment, too," he adds. "Ironically, the Republican initiatives on economic policy are improving Democratic electoral chances in Arizona."

Indeed, experts emphasize that the only constant in a mobile electorate is change. "The electorate is dynamic, and every four years, young voters come of voting age and older voters pass along," says Texas Christian University political scientist James W. Riddlesperger.

https://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-states-demographics-most-republican-most-democratic.html
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 10:47:10 am »

Minor nitpick: arenít minorities with college degrees more likely to vote Republican than those without?  Itís very lazy to take the pattern for Whites and assume it holds for minorities, which it doesnít, IIRC.
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Dirty Dan
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 08:02:04 pm »

I just wish that Republicans still wore ties and Democrats still wore flannel. Life was easier then. You know the time before rich kids wanted to be "cool" and when guys from the factory or the force didn't start half their sentences with "I'm not racist but...".
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 09:34:48 pm »

^ As someone who managed to make it through law school (IIRC), Iím sure you know this ... but if you think there was a time in the past where there werenít plenty of Republicans in flannel voting for Dewey and Democrats in ties voting for FDR, youíre sub-Atlas.
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Dirty Dan
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 08:26:50 am »

^ As someone who managed to make it through law school (IIRC), Iím sure you know this ... but if you think there was a time in the past where there werenít plenty of Republicans in flannel voting for Dewey and Democrats in ties voting for FDR, youíre sub-Atlas.

And it was perfectly atlas to take it literally.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 09:19:40 am »

^ As someone who managed to make it through law school (IIRC), Iím sure you know this ... but if you think there was a time in the past where there werenít plenty of Republicans in flannel voting for Dewey and Democrats in ties voting for FDR, youíre sub-Atlas.

And it was perfectly atlas to take it literally.

Lol, well I donít literally think you meant it literally. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 10:39:23 am »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.
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TML
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 10:51:01 am »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

My best guess is that residents in ME are socially conservative/fiscally liberal, and were attracted to Democrats' economic policies for a time, until Trump came along and adopted some of these economically populist positions himself.
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Dirty Dan
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 11:14:21 am »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

My best guess is that residents in ME are socially conservative/fiscally liberal, and were attracted to Democrats' economic policies for a time, until Trump came along and adopted some of these economically populist positions himself.

How socially conservative is Maine? I didn't know they had a big traditional Catholic, LDS, or Evangelical population. They probably have some traditional Irish.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 01:40:53 pm »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

My best guess is that residents in ME are socially conservative/fiscally liberal, and were attracted to Democrats' economic policies for a time, until Trump came along and adopted some of these economically populist positions himself.

Lol, go back before 2016 and the narrative was literally the opposite ... Susan Collins was the ďsocially liberal, fiscally conservativeĒ boogeyman to end all, and Maine - a formerly GOP stronghold that defected when the GOP left its New England roots and became too ďSouthernĒ and socially conservative - would vote for *New England Republicans* like Collins or Snowe but never the icky national GOP.
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Tartarus Sauce
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 05:27:38 pm »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

My best guess is that residents in ME are socially conservative/fiscally liberal, and were attracted to Democrats' economic policies for a time, until Trump came along and adopted some of these economically populist positions himself.

How socially conservative is Maine? I didn't know they had a big traditional Catholic, LDS, or Evangelical population. They probably have some traditional Irish.

They actually had quite a sizable influx of Catholics in the forms of French-Canadians and Irish during the industrial era. More importantly, they have the highest proportion of Evangelicals of any of the New England states (18% IIRC). So it's probably safe to say that they are the most socially conservative of the New England states. Still, that's socially conservative by New England standards, so not overwhelmingly so. The real opportunity for Republicans making inroads lays with the aging, non-college, white population that's culturally conservative and reactionary on race and immigration issues.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2019, 01:29:42 am »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

1. Maine is historically an anti-war state going back to the War of 1812.

2. Maine is rather secular though more religious than the rest of New England.

3. Maine is historically a protectionist state and both of the Maine ladies were protectionists who opposed NAFTA IIRC.

4. Maine has historically rejected fiscal hawks/lassiez faire emphasized Republicanism. Wilkie under-performed in Maine 1940 partially because of pro-British sentiment and partially because of his criticism of the New Deal. Romney also did very badly in Maine as well, and worse then Bush who empasized "Compassionate Conservatism". Maine Republicanism was a legacy product of Republican's economic nationalism and civil war voting legacy. From the late 1960's until the 2000's, Republicans really didn't have much to offer and so the state trended Democratic and Kevin Phillips predicted it would become a Democratic state back in the late 1960's.

4. Why would a Republican party dominated by sunbelt suburbs, evangelicals, neocons and free traders do well in Maine?

5. Why wouldn't a Republican Party that is more nationalist and focused on non-college whites not gain a lot of ground in Maine?
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2019, 02:50:01 pm »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

NH is dominated by Boston suburbs, with a good chunk of people living there because of taxes (even though they still pay MA income tax for wage income of family members working in MA). Such suburbs were the Republican base pre-Trump (and I personally dont think their movement towards Ds in 2016 is long-term). NH was and still is the least new Englandish state ideologically.

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pbrower2a
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2019, 09:15:36 am »

Utah. The state's demographics are closer to those of Minnesota in formal education and ethnic mix than to those of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and California... but it is still Strong R in most elections. It has been so since Eisenhower cultivated the LDS (Mormon) hierarchy. 
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Interlocutor
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2019, 03:02:27 pm »

^ As someone who managed to make it through law school (IIRC), Iím sure you know this ... but if you think there was a time in the past where there werenít plenty of Republicans in flannel voting for Dewey and Democrats in ties voting for FDR, youíre sub-Atlas.

And it was perfectly atlas to take it literally.

And perfectly Atlas to call one person's reaction "perfectly Atlas"
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2019, 10:33:28 pm »

Secularism is the obvious elephant in the room for why these rankings aren't in sync, imo
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pbrower2a
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2019, 09:43:29 am »

Thanks! Of course this begs the question why ME was so much more Democratic than NH in the first place. Why did it vote several points to the left of NH until 2016? Itís always struck me as a state thatís more Democratic than it "should be," especially considering the success ME Republicans have had downballot even after 1992.

My best guess is that residents in ME are socially conservative/fiscally liberal, and were attracted to Democrats' economic policies for a time, until Trump came along and adopted some of these economically populist positions himself.

How socially conservative is Maine? I didn't know they had a big traditional Catholic, LDS, or Evangelical population. They probably have some traditional Irish.

French-Canadians. See Paul LePage.
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