The Liberal “Baby Problem”

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Brooks is pointing out the left’s “baby problem”:

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That’s a “fertility gap” of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%–explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today’s problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020–and all for no other reason than babies.

The fertility gap doesn’t budge when we correct for factors like age, income, education, sex, race–or even religion. Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative.

Gee, you mean the most pro-abortion people walking the planet today, liberal Democrats, aren’t having enough babies? Big surprise there.

If the libs are scratching their heads and wondering why they aren’t pumping out little Michael Moores and Janeane Garofalos left and right, maybe they should ask Planned Parenthood about it.

I guess that’s what happens when you have a group of people who treat ripping a baby apart in the womb as a “choice” that has all the moral implications of trying to decide which brand of cereal you’re going to buy at the grocery store.

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