Profile of Likely Democratic and Likely Republican Voters Clarified in Pew Research Study; Turnout Remains Uncertain A new Pew Research Center study of the partisan makeup of U.S. voters, released September 13, 2016, shows that both Democrats and Republicans are becoming less white, less religious and better educated. However, Democrats in America are becoming less
Profile of Likely Democratic and Likely Republican Voters Clarified in Pew Research Study; Turnout Remains Uncertain
A new Pew Research Center study of the partisan makeup of U.S. voters, released September 13, 2016, shows that both Democrats and Republicans are becoming less white, less religious and better educated. However, Democrats in America are becoming less white, less religious and better educated at a faster rate than the national average, while Republicans are becoming less white, less religious and better educated at a slower rate than the national average.
- Democrats have gone from 76% non-Hispanic white voters to 57% since 1992
- Republicans have gone from 93% non-Hispanic whites to 86% since 1992
Pews national study, based on 8,000 interviews, reveals that 48% of registered voters identify as Democrats or lean towards the Democratic Party, while 44% identify as Republican or lean Republican. The profile of partisan voters is now clear. Who will turn out to vote is uncertain.
Democrats: Women, Minorities, Young, Urban, Single
The coalition of 48% of American voters who consider themselves Democrats or lean towards the Democratic Party is comprised primarily of women, minorities and under-50 young people. Most college graduates and post grads are Democrats. So are those who make less than $30,000 annually, along with those who are unmarried and those who live in urban areas.
- Women favor Democrats by 54% to 38%
- Blacks favor Democrats by 87% to 7%
- Hispanics favor Democrats by 63% to 27%
- Asians favor Democrats by 66% to 27%
- Millennials (18 to 35-year-olds) favor Democrats by 57% to 36%
- Gen Xers (36 to 51-year-olds) favor Democrats by 48% to 42%
- College grads favor Democrats by 53% to 41%
- Some College or less is split evenly at 46% Democratic; 46% Republican
- Family income under $30,000 favor Democrats by 60% to 32%
- Unmarried favor Democrats by 56% to 36%
- Urban favor Democrats by 60% to 33%
- % Favor Democrats: Black Protestants (88%); Hispanic Catholics (69%); Jews (74%)
Republicans: Men, White, Older, Suburban/Rural, Married
The 44% of Americans who consider themselves Republicans or lean towards the Republican Party is comprised primarily of men, white voters, and older generations of voters. Upper income households and married voters are more likely to be Republican, as are suburban and rural voters, along with non-Hispanic Protestants, Catholics and Mormons.
- Men favor Republicans by 51% to 41%
- White, non-Hispanic voters favor Republicans 54% to 39%
- Baby Boomers favor Republicans 49% to 45%
- Silent/Greatest Generation voters favor Republicans 53% to 40%
- Some College or less splits 46% ea; High Sch or less favor Republicans 59% to 33%
- Family Income over $75,000 favor Republicans 49% to 45%
- Family Income $30,000-$74,999 favor Republicans 48% to 45%
- Married voters favor Republicans 51% to 44%
- Suburban voters favor Republicans 48% to 44%
- Rural voters favor Republicans 55% to 37%
- White, non-Hispanic Evangelical Protestants favor Republicans (76% to 20%), as do Mainline Protestants (55% to 37%) and Catholics (58% to 37%)
- Mormons favor Republicans 69% to 24%
The Pew study shows a rapid aging of the Republican Party in the United States compared to 1992, when 61% were under the age of 50 and 38% over 50. Today, only 41% of Republicans are under 50, with 58% of the GOP base now over 50.
There’s been a major shift in party loyalty among 65-and-older Americans, with Republicans now enjoying a 51% to 42% lead. That’s a 9-point improvement over 2008. Conversely, the under-30 voters continue to support the Democratic Party (59%) as they did in 2008 (60%).
Who is More Likely to Vote?
In 2008 and 2012, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama won the presidential race with a sophisticated turnout operation fueled by enthusiastic African-American and young white volunteers. However, Obama was unable to rekindle that enthusiasm for Democrats in 2010 and 2014, leading to a takeover of most state governments and the U.S. Congress by the GOP.
On Monday, September 12, 2016, Dr. Rebecca Tippett, Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center, released a report on “active, registered” North Carolina voters by generations. Tippett’s finding: “Only 67% of voting-eligible Millennials and 73% of Gen Xers are “active, registered” voters, compared to 81% of Boomers and 82% of Silent/Greatest voting-eligibles.”
Considerable ink and airtime has been given by political analysts and reporters to the topic of Hillary Clinton’s struggle to generate enthusiasm among African Americans and young voters. If Democratic turnout is more like 2004 than 2008 or 2012, Clinton’s potential plummets.
In every election year since 2008 that Obama was not on the top of the ballot, Democrats have fared poorly, even with sophisticated turnout operations, because their base lacked enthusiasm and did not turn out. Thanks to Pew Research, we now have a clear profile of voters more likely to vote Democratic and Republican. Turnout remains uncertain
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JDPR TrendLines is an executive summary feature of the John Davis Political Report. The objective is to provide readers timely assessments of the political implications of the latest opinion polls and breaking news.