Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Real News for Republicans in 2014 is in the Youth Vote

Republicans took the Senate and increased their majority in the House. Overall, excellent night for the Republicans. But, in the long term, the real news in the exit poll data, courtesy of the WaPo.

The real important numbers are in voting trends, not the absolute numbers. Midterms and presidential elections aren't anything close to apples to apples. To get a better idea of voting trends, you need to compare midterms to midterms. Luckily, we have something that is pretty close to a natural experiment.

Both 2010 and 2014 saw Republican midterm victories. In 2010, Republicans won by a 7% margin nationally. In 2014, that margin shrunk slightly to 5%. The composition of the 2014 Republican vote was similar but not identical to 2010. These differences are important.

First, Republicans made dramatic inroads among Asians, voting 17 points more Republican than in 2010. Asians are true "Natural Republicans". With high incomes, traditional values, and a strong work ethic, it should be a relief that Asians are finally coming back to Republicans.

Hispanics, on the other hand, are not natural Republicans. And, 2014 provides more evidence for that. While the nation voted 2 point less Republican in 2014 than in 2010, Hispanics voted 6 points less Republican. Hispanics are becoming less Republican.

The other good news for Democrats is that women, like Hispanics, voted 6 points more Republican in 2010 than in 2014 while there was no change in men. So, women and Hispanics are trending Republican.

Most other groups didn't show any significant change. The exception there might be the young. The young voted 2 points more Republican in 2014 while the nation as a whole voted 2 points less Republican. So, young people, as we discussed last time, are slowly moving back towards the center.

My hunch is that young white men are driving this shift. As the Pew chart in my last post showed, Mitt Romney did 19 points better among young white men than John Mccain. Nationally, Romney only improved 3 points on Mccain.

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