States of Change: How Demographic Change is Transforming the Republican and Democratic Parties

States of Change: How Demographic Change is Transforming the Republican and Democratic Parties. Brookings Institution. Rob Griffin, William H. Frey, and Ruy Teixeira. July 1, 2019

Demographics are not destiny, but steady and predictable changes to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of American politics. Most demographic groups have a political lean, so a group increasing or decreasing in size over time will tend to benefit one party or type of politics over another. The most well-known example is the growth of the nonwhite population in the United States, which—since nonwhites tend to lean heavily Democratic—is typically viewed as tilting the electoral terrain somewhat toward the Democrats over time as well as increasing the weight of nonwhite voters within the Democratic Party over time. But other changes are important, such as the decline of noncollege educated voters, particularly whites; the aging of the adult population; and the rise of new generations to replace older ones.

In this report, the authors will explore the effect of these changes on the demographic composition of the electorate and, especially, on the composition of the two major political parties. Reflecting the latter focus, this analysis will not focus on how many individuals from a given demographic group voted or will likely vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election. Rather, it focuses on how many people who voted or are likely to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election belong to a given demographic group. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 53 pages].

U.S. Elections: Opinion Polls

The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. March 29, 2012.

According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11,  Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking, with women favoring Obama over Mitt Romney by 20 points and over Rick Santorum by 26 points. When it comes to the political parties, 51% of women identify with the Democrats compared to 42% of men. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 

GOP Race Is Rallying Democrats: Campaign Continues to Hurt GOP More Than It Helps. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. March 5, 2012.

The Republican nomination battle is rallying Democrats behind Barack Obama. Currently, 49% of Democrats say that as they learn more about the GOP candidates, their impression of Obama is getting better. Just 36% of Democrats expressed this view in December, before the Republican primaries began. [Note: contains copyrighted material].