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The demographics of 2010

Some nice demographic polling out from Gallup today. Over the past seven months, middle-age voters have been pretty stable in their preferences between Democrats and Republicans. It's the young and the old who've diverged, with the young swinging toward the Democrats and the old going hard for the Republicans. And that means Democrats are in trouble. Historically, the young don't really vote in midterms. The old do.

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Similarly, white voters and black voters are pretty much where they were in March. But among Hispanics, support for Democrats has plummeted.

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Democrats could look at these graphs and feel good about 2012 and the future: They're dominant among young voters, and once we get to a Republican primary where the GOP has to begin loudly working out its internal divisions over immigration, it's likely that Hispanics will flip to the Democrats, too. But they can't look at any of this and feel good about 2010.

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 9:21 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Comments

Mignon Veasley-Fields, a 61-year-old African-American grandmother living in Los Angeles and unemployed since June 2008, recently spoke via an MSNBC pundit's show and said "We as 99ers have tried to figure this out ourselves. What has happened is we can remember the time in which the Republicans said, 'Sure, get another tier. Use the stimulus fund.' And the Democrats said, 'No, we need to find sourcing for unemployment.' So now we're thinking back on that, and we're realizing it's not the Republicans. It was the Democrats that caused us to be in the situation that we're in."

By 2012, the effects of many more of the Social-Democrat policies will be even more pronounced... perhaps not as easily remembered, though.

Posted by: rmgregory | October 1, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The Robert's activist court and Citizen's United makes these issues moot. No more fair elections in this country. It's all about who has the most money. That's why idiots like Whitman and Scott will buy their way into office and why foreign corporations will now dominate the political messaging on TV and why dumb Americans will listen to these people and vote however they want them to vote. That's why seniors are now trusting the wolves to protect medicare and SS though the GOP consistently wants to dismantle medicare and SS.

Posted by: Lomillialor | October 1, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Democrats could look at these graphs and feel good about 2012 and the future: They're dominant among young voters,'

Yes, but then those young voters grow up.

Posted by: bgmma50 | October 1, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

rmgregory

Dems fully realize they have made mistakes. However, demagogues like you pretend the GOP has had nothing to do with our current ailments. Right up until the crash, Bush and McCain were claiming publicly the economy was "sound". People like you pretend Obama created the debt and has raised taxes on them and is dismantling medicare (that's why that senile old woman thinks the Dems are killing medicare). People like you pretend the Iraq War wasn't a mistake or didn't cause energy prices to skyrocket and hence had nothing to do with the poor economy. You also pretend Bush Tax cuts helped the economy and had no effect on plunging federal revenues and debt.

Everyone knows the real reasons people like you support the GOP crooks and liars.

Posted by: Lomillialor | October 1, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This just points out one of my favorite hobbyhorses, that our spectacular advances in medical technology have caused an electorate that's dominated by old people. No wonder the Senate (which is supposed to be dominated by old people -- "senex" is its Latin root after all) has the whip hand.


Posted by: DeliciousPundit | October 1, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I turned 22 just 9 days after you were born. As a fellow Taurean, I know you will find this hard to accept, but most people become more conservative as they grow older.

The cavalier attitude of one's 20s mellows and ripens like fine wine as aging brings responsibilities unknown in youth.

When one has a spouse, children who carry on one's bloodlines or at least one's teachings, bills to pay, bosses to impress, and as one moves closer to the end of life rather than the possibilities of the beginning, one becomes more sober, thoughtful, and interested in leaving more than debts to the next generation.

Think on this when you have passed another 22 summers . . .

Posted by: auntpittypat | October 1, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ezra,

As someone in middle age myself, it's hard not to think it might be good to have another Republican majority... oh, hell, I can't even be snarky about this. If senior citizens want the Republicans to cut out the social safety net from under them, perhaps we should let it happen. They've sucked up all the societal benefits their whole lives, then instisted later generations need to be the ones to 'pay their way', so why not pull up the social ladder behind them?

'People' as a general rule don't grow more conservative as they grow older... just stupid people.

Posted by: Jaycal | October 1, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

On the MSNBC.com Politics top headlines page, one headline reads "'Now is not the time to quit,' Obama tells young voters" and next to it, "Obama makes it official: Rahm bound for Chicago"

Posted by: tuber | October 1, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

As a young voter, I apologize for the rest of us.

Watching my unproductive friends smoke pot all day and vote Democrat is, well, frustrating.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

krazen

Seems the only redeeming virtue of your pot-smoking friends is that they don't vote GOP. Since pot-smokers tend to hang together, I guess your comment tells us more about you than you intended.

Posted by: Lomillialor | October 1, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Seems the only redeeming virtue of your pot-smoking friends is that they don't vote GOP. Since pot-smokers tend to hang together, I guess your comment tells us more about you than you intended."

Actually, no, you just made all that up.

But what else I can say about bums who vote themselves the tax dollars of working americans?


I guess its not hard to be an idealist or an environmentalist or a bleeding heart when you live off your Republican daddy's money.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm skeptical of the idea that people become more conservative as they get older, at least regarding social issues. I'm much more inclined to believe that society simply passes you by as you get older.

Posted by: MosBen | October 1, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the only people who I know that smoke dope and borrow money from me are all republicans.

Also, the only people I know who are in the gvmt are republicans.

I dont have sympathy for your selfish ideas that a modern society can function with no taxes or that every gvmt program is evil. Move to Somalia if you want a libertarian utopia and hate America so much.

Posted by: lauren2010 | October 1, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"I'm skeptical of the idea that people become more conservative as they get older, at least regarding social issues. I'm much more inclined to believe that society simply passes you by as you get older."

Or perhaps ideas that were once progressive, relative to your fellow citizens, become mainstream and conservative. Few question equal rights for women or civil rights for minorities, but not long ago, those were very liberal positions.

Posted by: itonyclifton | October 1, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, the only people who I know that smoke dope and borrow money from me are all republicans.

Also, the only people I know who are in the gvmt are republicans.

I dont have sympathy for your selfish ideas that a modern society can function with no taxes or that every gvmt program is evil. Move to Somalia if you want a libertarian utopia and hate America so much."

This is the definition of a strawman.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"I'm skeptical of the idea that people become more conservative as they get older, at least regarding social issues. I'm much more inclined to believe that society simply passes you by as you get older."

It probably has little to do with social issues.

More likely, people make more money and start paying taxes.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"I'm skeptical of the idea that people become more conservative as they get older, at least regarding social issues. I'm much more inclined to believe that society simply passes you by as you get older."

It probably has little to do with social issues.

More likely, people make more money and start paying taxes.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

You can't teach an old dog new tricks? More older folks nowadays are trying to maintain active lifestyles, physically and mentally, to stay competitive in the workforce and to stave off senility after retirement. So more old dogs are learning new tricks, or least trying to. Not really sure if it affects their political leanings or affiliation though.

Also, don't the legalize-pot crowd tend to lean more Libertarian (a la Rand Paul) than Democratic?

Posted by: tuber | October 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks? More older folks nowadays are trying to maintain active lifestyles, physically and mentally, to stay competitive in the workforce and to stave off senility after retirement. So more old dogs are learning new tricks, or least trying to. Not really sure if it affects their political leanings or affiliation though.

Also, don't the legalize-pot crowd tend to lean more Libertarian (a la Rand Paul) than Democratic? "

Possibly. Nate Silver estimates that the pot smokers will help Barbara Boxer win in CA.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com


With young voters, though, the only Presidency they really knew was George W. Bush. And since they want to stick it to the establishment, they voted the way they did.

Course, they are mortgaging their future with the spending and deficit king in office, and all that education and time wasted will be less valuable under confiscatory tax and spread the wealth schemes, but, well, that probably doesn't matter to them.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 1, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The most interesting trend is the Hispanic jump to the Republicans, which is obvious if you live in Florida and see the interest and even excitement Rubio has started to generate. And the blacks may be democrat, but they don't vote in midterms any more than young people. I have to chuckle when I see Shrum depend on dishonest Dem polling to keep telling himself the Dems will stay in power. I don't know one person over fifty, except what Rick Sanchez would call the types controlling CNN, who supports the Democrats this year. It's a pendulum thing.

Posted by: djman1141 | October 1, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

krazen1211, the only demographic which is heavily Republican are people 65 and older. Many of those young liberals you don't seem to like have liberal parents.

But the connection to economic issues is part of what I was getting at. It's not the people get more conservative, necessarily. It's that they get a little more greedy about their own personal wealth as they get older. Meanwhile, their formerly progressive social views become mainstream, and eventually conservative, as subsequent generations take the next steps.

itonyclifton, that's what I was getting at, or, well, trying to. I think it's most likely that on social issues each generation stakes out the injustices that they think need to be change, but then stop crusading after they achieve success. Then the next generation takes up the next crusade while the previous generation shakes their fist from the porch.

Posted by: MosBen | October 1, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I once asked Krazen what programs he'd cut to balance the budget and he said Medicaid, though Medicaid isn't enough to balance even the bathroom scale.

Krazen is a good bluffer but has no ideas to actually balance the budget. When you consider almost all of the debt was created by the last three GOP presidents, it's easy to see why he has no actual ideas.

Posted by: lauren2010 | October 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"I once asked Krazen what programs he'd cut to balance the budget and he said Medicaid, though Medicaid isn't enough to balance even the bathroom scale.

Krazen is a good bluffer but has no ideas to actually balance the budget. When you consider almost all of the debt was created by the last three GOP presidents, it's easy to see why he has no actual ideas."

Talk about lies.

Medicaid constitutes $300 billion in federal government spending alone. It is one of the biggest line items on the budget.

The federal department of education costitutes another $100 billion.

Cutting out wasteful defense spending like the F22 would net another $100 billion.


And no, the last 3 GOP didn't create *almost* all of our debt. That was true in 2008. It no longer is.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 2, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"krazen1211, the only demographic which is heavily Republican are people 65 and older. Many of those young liberals you don't seem to like have liberal parents.

But the connection to economic issues is part of what I was getting at. It's not the people get more conservative, necessarily. It's that they get a little more greedy about their own personal wealth as they get older. Meanwhile, their formerly progressive social views become mainstream, and eventually conservative, as subsequent generations take the next steps."

Shrug, I only speak from my own experience.

I am 24; my peers between 22 and 26 or so are almost all Democrats.

Their parents are about 60/40 Republican.

I don't dislike them; I merely suggest that students shouldn't be allowed to vote, at least until they start paying taxes. And yes, that includes my 18 year old self in 2004 (I didn't vote for Bush, btw, although I supported him).

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 2, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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