Monday, November 12, 2012

Persistence of the "New" Electorate

While Republicans face the possibility that changing demographics might have relegated them to an underdog position in Presidential elections for a generation, the 2012 election brings the Democrats' primary electoral challenge into stark relief.

The overriding challenge for Democrats is to bridge the apparent structural gap between Presidential-year electorates and mid-term electorates. Democrats need to ensure that the voters who have fueled their 2008 and 2012 Obama victories, especially those who cast their first votes in 2008 or 2012, become habitual voters who show up at the polls in mid-term elections. The demography of 2010's electorate (much older and whiter) differed dramatically from the 2008 and 2012 electorates. Democrats need to change that.

If Democrats fail to ensure the persistence of the new electorate from Presidential elections to mid-term elections, they will continually face the prospect of losing Senate and House seats in mid-term elections.

The Presidential electorate continues to grow more ethnically diverse,with the non-white portion of the electorate now up to 28%, the highest in history. The non-white sector of the electorate is only going to continue to grow moving forward. Latinos comprised 10% of the electorate, African-Americans held steady at 13%, while Asians and other ethnic groups combined for 5%. The Republican challenge is to become more competitive within this diversifying electorate, while Democrats' challenge is to turn out this electorate in non-Presidential elections. 

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