Demographics and the 2016 election

Honestly, I can’t get enough of Ronald Brownstein’s demographic takes on the electorate.  In the Atlantic he writes about how the Democratic party is relying ever more on minorities while Republicans are relying ever more on the white working class.  Of course, one of these groups is growing and the other is shrinking.  That said, Republicans have been doing really well among non-college educated whites and that has really helped offset other losses.  Here’s some particularly telling charts:


And you know there’s going to be even more yellow and dark grey in 2016.  As for the party breakdown:


On both sides, this year’s presidential primaries documented the impact of these changes. One key reason Trump captured the GOP nomination was his dominant performance among the noncollege whites, who remain a much larger share of the Republican than the Democratic electorate. Conversely, Hillary Clinton remains on track to claim the Democratic nomination largely because she dominated the party’s growing minority component—and also because the blue-collar whites that predominantly preferred Bernie Sanders (especially outside the South) have eroded so much as a share of the total party vote…

A Trump-Clinton general election seems guaranteed to further accelerate these shifts. Early national polls consistently show Trump amassing big margins among working-class whites but underperforming with college-educated whites and facing cavernous deficits with nonwhites. If those trends sustain, it’s possible that working-class whites could again provide nearly half of Republican presidential votes—even in an election where they may sink to only about one-third of all voters…

In other words, in the most likely scenarios, this election will widen the distance between the class and racial composition of each party’s core of support. And, regardless of which side ultimately prevails, that promises to complicate the post-election challenge of finding any common ground between two coalitions embodying increasingly divergent visions of America.

Yep.  America is getting increasingly divided.  Though, I’m thinking that the more genuine white ethnocentric the Republican party becomes, that that’s got to eventually scare away a good number of college-educated whites.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Demographics and the 2016 election

  1. rgbact says:

    So far, Trump appears to be making it up with the non college educated. Washington Post has a great analysis of the massive gender and college gap with Trump. Romney was fairly even with college whites and non college. Trump is lagging with college, but way up with non college.

    Nice to see Brownstein finally realizing there might be a downside to all the beloved diversity.

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