Partisanship in 2012

Fascinating look at contemporary partisanship from Pew (it’s from a week ago, don’t understand why I saw none of the usual suspects blog on this– found it yesterday via a FB link).  Lots and lots of interesting stuff– hard to know what to highlight.   Two basic demographic features struck me, though.

First, the Republican party is ever more the party of white males:

GOP Voters: Overwhelmingly White, Mostly Male

The demographic differences between the Republican and Democratic voters are reflected in current profiles of the two parties’ bases. In surveys conducted in 2012, nearly nine-in-ten (87%) Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are white, while just 11% are minorities. In contrast, 61% of Democrats are white, while nearly four-in-ten are African American (21%), Hispanic (10%) or another race (7%).

Men make up a majority (52%) of Republican Republican-leaning voters; among Democratic voters, 43% are men while 57% are women. Republican and Republican-leaning voters also are far more likely than Democratic voters to be married (65% of Republicans vs. 49% of Democrats).

Obviously, the gender breakdown is always going to be quite stable, but as mentioned often before, the ever-increasing reliance on white voters is not exactly the ticket to a reliable future for Republicans.  Another positive feature for Democrats: though there was clearly an Obama-spike in 2008, the Democratic lead is holding quite solid among Millennials:

And, of course, they will become a larger portion of the electorate as the Silent generation slowly ebbs.

Also, worth noting that Democrats are definitely down from 2008, but I think overall this reflects a return to fairly long-term trends after an anti-Bush, pro-Obama surge in 2008.

Also, after I found this, I also found a nice take from William Galston.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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