Demographics

‘Redistribution’ is no Longer a Dirty Word

Vox: “Bernie Sanders wants a political revolution. And most Americans think one might be necessary, according to a new poll conducted by Morning Consult and Vox.”

“Fifty-four percent of respondents to our online poll — which reached a sample of 1,884 registered voters nationally from Friday, January 29, through Sunday, January 31, 2016 — agreed that a ‘political revolution might be necessary to redistribute money from the wealthiest Americans to the middle class.’ Just 30 percent said they disagreed.”

“Liberals and liberal-leaning demographics were most likely to agree with the statement. But majorities of independents, white voters, evangelicals, and even Tea Party supporters in our sample agreed too — showing that redistribution may no longer be a dirty word in American politics.”

“Yet Sanders supporters shouldn’t get too excited just yet. Because we also asked our entire sample: ‘Which do you think is a greater potential threat to the country’s future — Big Businesses or Big Government?’ The results weren’t as promising for his agenda on this front. Fifty-five percent of registered voters thought big government was more dangerous, compared with 29 percent who thought big business was.”

Are Democrats Split by Age or Ideology?

Scot Clement in The Washington Post: “Do young Democrats have ‘Clinton fatigue?’ Does Sanders’s plainspoken style hit home with a demographic that also flocked to Obama’s lofty rhetoric? Or is the split all largely about policy, with liberal younger Democrats flocking to Sanders’s push for single-payer health care and other progressive ideals?”

A deeper analysis of Iowa entrance poll results shows that “among those aged 40 and older, Clinton’s margin against Sanders was largest with moderate and ‘somewhat liberal’ Democrats, while Sanders performed best among the very liberal contingent.”

2016-02-04 Dem divide age ideology

“But that pattern is erased — or even reversed — among younger Democrats. Clinton lost younger voters by at least 40 percentage points, regardless of their ideological leaning, and the margin was actually largest (58 points) among those calling themselves moderates or conservatives.”

“The lack of any greater support for Clinton among younger moderate Democrats suggests many are not supporting Sanders for his policies, but for his broader message and novelty on the national stage.”

Voter I.D. Laws Thwart Democratic Process to Favor Republicans

Christopher Ingraham comments on the results of a new working paper that analyzes “turnout in recent elections — between 2008 and 2012 — in states that did and did not implement the strictest form of voter ID laws. [Researchers] found that these laws consistently and significantly decreased turnout not just among traditionally Democratic-leaning groups, like blacks and Hispanics, but among Republican voters too.”

“The findings are notable because they’re some of the first using data in elections that took place after some states implemented photo ID requirements to vote. Previous studies on the effects of these laws showed mixed results.”

“Their analysis suggests that turnout for Latino voters was suppressed by 10.8 points in states with strict photo ID laws, compared to states without them. For multiracial Americans, the drop was 12.8 points.”

“The net effect of all this? ‘Democratic turnout drops by an estimated 7.7 percentage points in general elections when strict photo identification laws are in place.’ Democrats weren’t the only ones affected, either. The data showed that Republican turnout was depressed by 4.6 percentage points too.”

“But the laws disproportionately affected Democratic voters. ‘The turnout advantage of those on the right is three to five times larger in strict photo identification states, all else equal. These results suggest that by instituting strict photo ID laws, states could minimize the influence of voters on the left and could dramatically alter the political leaning of the electorate.”

Why There’s Imperfection in Early Primary Polling

The Atlantic: “For those shocked by the GOP results [in Iowa], take heart: Iowa is notoriously fickle, and not even top pollsters firmly predicted a win for Trump or Cruz, despite assumptions to the contrary. And it’d be wise to steel yourself for more unpredictability in the minutes, hours, and days leading up to next week’s primary in New Hampshire.”

“Pollsters add that laymen might be overemphasizing the less meaningful parts of these surveys anyway … what polls can’t do is show with ‘a high degree of accuracy’ the percentage of voters each candidate will snag in the end.”

“The ‘dearth of polls’ showing a Cruz victory ‘is not a polling methods question’—a matter of survey set-up—but rather ‘a matter of the dynamic nature of the Iowa caucuses.’ For one, voters in Iowa are allowed to register for the caucuses day-of … Pollsters might have simply caught Cruz at a bad time the week leading up to the caucuses, when Trump was hitting him on his Canadian birthplace, and he had a lackluster debate performance. Once most pollsters stopped their surveys ahead of Iowa, the winds could’ve shifted his way … the caucuses are ‘built for people to decide late or change their minds.’”

“Surveying for New Hampshire’s contest next week is subject to similar dynamics as in Iowa, where timing matters a great deal and where voters’ decision-making can be constantly in flux.”

Is Bernie the Reason Democrats Are Becoming More Liberal?

Philip Bump: “For years, Democrats were much more likely to call themselves ‘moderate’ than ‘liberal,’ according to data from Gallup. In 2000, 44 percent of Democrats described themselves as moderate, compared to 31 percent of Republicans who identified themselves that way. Twice as many Republicans called themselves “conservative” — as did a quarter of Democrats. “Liberal” was the least common way Democrats referred to themselves. That has changed — fast.”

Now, Democrats are far more likely to call themselves liberal than moderate. Compared to 2007, the year before the last contested Democratic primary, Democrats are seven percentage points more likely to identify as liberal and three points less likely to identify as moderate. Compared to 2003, when Dean hoped to ride a progressive wave to the White House, Democrats are 13 points more liberal — and eight points less conservative.

So. It may not be so much that Sanders is driving liberals to the polls or pulling his party in a more progressive direction as it is that Sanders is doing unexpectedly well because his party has already moved to the left. After all, Sanders only won the “very liberal” vote in Iowa by 19 points — far less than the percentages by which he won young people, for example. Among the “somewhat” liberal voters, Clinton won by six.

Americans Hate Government — and Banks

The Atlantic: “Although divisions exist even among those within the same political parties, people seem to agree on one thing: they distrust government and banks. The most recent Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll asked Americans who they trusted most to improve economic opportunity and security for people like them. Amid the presidential election frenzy, only 18 percent of respondents said they trusted elected officials in Washington, D.C., the most to fix the economy, down from 31 percent of people in 2009. More than a third do not trust any major institution—elected officials, labor union, investment banks, major corporations, national banks—to make improvement in their lives.

“Overall more than half of Americans (61 percent) believe that most of the progress tackling the country’s major challenges is happening at the state and local level—more than double those who said it was happening at the national level. Currently, American’s overall trust in the federal government is at its lowest point in the last half century, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center.”

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“Americans still said that the government plays an important role. Democrats leaned more heavily toward government playing an active role in regulating the economy … Echoing the division among political parties, younger respondents were less likely to see opportunities in the free market, and supported agendas that invested in education and social programs. Only 36 percent of Millennials supported the more conservative agenda compared to 47 percent of Generation X and 52 percent of Baby Boomers.”

For the First Time, Red States Outnumber Blue

Gallup: Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.

Political Composition of the 50 U.S. States

Importantly, even though Republicans claim a greater number of states, Democrats continue to hold an edge nationally in partisanship.

Party Affiliation by State, 2015

Which Party Benefits from Increased Immigration?

Wall Street Journal: “’Noncitizen/undocumented immigrants are both the enemy and the raison d’être of some politicians,’ wrote Anna Maria Mayda of Georgetown University, Giovanni Peri at the University of California, Davis,  and Walter Steingress at the Bank of France. Their research was published this week as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

“The authors find that both effects do happen. Immigrants who become voting citizens really are more likely to support Democrats, while rising immigration really does cause native voters to more heavily favor Republicans.”

“The key takeaway of the research is that increasing immigration would, on net, boost Democrats in 353 districts. It would only boost Republicans in 55 districts.”

“The districts in which Republicans are boosted [are] districts with a lot of immigration that make voters more likely to vote Republican.”

“Or, in other words, a little bit of immigration helps Democrats by giving them new voters, but a lot of it helps Republicans by driving native voters’ worries … Yes, immigrants who can vote help Democrats; immigrants who can’t vote help Republicans. But both parties appear to face some clear and surprising electoral risks of overdoing it or underdoing it on immigration.”

Democrats Split on Experience and Trust

Philip Bump and Scott Clement: “Two Democratic parties showed up to vote in Iowa on Monday night, and with nearly all of the delegates tallied, the result is essentially a tie.”

“Asked to evaluate the most important factor driving their support, Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa split dramatically on what they were looking for in a candidate. Among those looking for someone to beat the Republican nominee in November, about three-quarters backed Hillary Clinton. An even higher percentage of those looking for a nominee with the ‘right experience’ preferred Clinton to Bernie Sanders. Together, those groups accounted for roughly half of all Democratic voters.”

“Sanders, though, was strongly preferred by those looking for someone that cares about people like them, getting support from 3 out of 4 voters citing that quality. Among voters looking for an honest candidate, Sanders did even better, earning the support of about 4 in 5 Democrats prioritizing that trait.”

What Matters More to Voters? Policy or Politics?

Drew Altman: “Have you noticed that Republican presidential candidates have spent far less time debating differences between their proposals? One reason: Republicans care less about detailed policy plans than do Democrats.”

“As the chart above shows, 61% of registered Democrats say candidates’ detailed policy plans–on health care or other topics–matter to their vote, and 35% say a candidate’s general values and approach to government matters more. For Republicans it’s the reverse: 51% care most about a candidate’s general values and approach to government, and 45% prioritize their policy plans.”

“When both parties have nominees and the campaign moves into the general election, the candidates will face greater pressure to produce policy plans on major issues … Overall, 55% of registered voters say that it matters more to them if a candidate has a detailed plan to address issues they care about than a candidate’s general values and approach to government, vs. 40% saying they care more about general candidate characteristics than policy plans.”

The GOP is the Party of the Past

Ronald Brownstein in The Atlantic: “The cul­tur­al and demo­graph­ic gulf between the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic elect­or­al co­ali­tions can now be meas­ured not just in space, but in time.”

“Today, the two parties rep­res­ent not only dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the coun­try, but also, in ef­fect, dif­fer­ent edi­tions of the coun­try. Along many key meas­ures, the Re­pub­lic­an co­ali­tion mir­rors what all of Amer­ic­an so­ci­ety looked like dec­ades ago. Across those same meas­ures, the Demo­crat­ic co­ali­tion rep­res­ents what Amer­ica might be­come in dec­ades ahead. The parties’ ever-es­cal­at­ing con­flict rep­res­ents not only an ideo­lo­gic­al and par­tis­an stale­mate. It also en­cap­su­lates our col­lect­ive fail­ure to find com­mon cause between what Amer­ica has been, and what it is be­com­ing.”

Re­pub­lic­ans rep­res­ent a co­ali­tion of res­tor­a­tion centered on the groups most un­settled by the changes (primar­ily older, non­col­lege, rur­al, and reli­giously de­vout whites). Demo­crats mo­bil­ize a co­ali­tion of trans­form­a­tion that re­volves around the heav­ily urb­an­ized groups (mil­len­ni­als, people of col­or, and col­lege-edu­cated, single, and sec­u­lar whites, es­pe­cially wo­men) most comfortable with these trends.”

“The lar­ger truth is that this cul­tur­al par­ti­tion has frus­trated both parties, by denying either a broad enough reach to es­tab­lish a dom­in­ant, much less dur­able, polit­ic­al ad­vant­age.”

The Emptiness of America, Mapped

Christopher Ingraham: “The counties shaded blue are the 462 least densely populated counties of the nation. None of them have a population density greater than 7.4 people per square mile. In 65 of these counties, the density is less than one person per square mile.”

“The least-populated place in the United States is Alaska’s Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area. At over 145,000 square miles, it’s larger than New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia — combined. But it’s home to only 5,547 people, for a population density of fewer than 4 people every 100 miles.”