Demographic Trends Favor Republicans By James Joyner

Despite the conventional wisdom that emerging demographic trends would lead to the emergence of a Democratic majority, it appears that there’s some good trends for the Republicans.

Reyling on Clark Bensen’s PoliData apportionment estimates, Michael Barone finds, in a piece entitled “Demographic Trends Could Make It Harder for Obama and Democrats,” that several states are likely to gain House seats (and thus Electoral Votes) at the next reapportionment.

Bush 2004 states

Arizona +2
Florida +2
Georgia +1
Iowa -1
Louisiana -1
Missouri -1
Nevada +1
North Carolina +1
Ohio -2
South Carolina +1
Texas +4
Utah +1


Kerry 2004 states

California -1
Illinois -1
Massachusetts -1
Michigan -1
Minnesota -1
New Jersey -1
New York -2
Oregon +1
Pennsylvania -1


The upshot:

[U]nder the new electoral vote distribution, Bush’s 286-to-252 electoral vote margin in 2004 becomes 294-to-244. Bush would have lost in 2004 if Ohio had not gone his way; under the projected post-2010 apportionment, Bush would have won 276-to-262 if Ohio had not gone his way.

Maybe. We’ll get to that shortly. But Barone follows with this:

The demographic trends reflected in these projections would not prevent Barack Obama from being elected this year and re-elected in 2012, but they would make it marginally more difficult.

Actually, they wouldn’t have any impact on this year at all. The Census Bureau constantly adjusts its data, which impacts all manner of government allocations. It does not, however, result in reapportionment. That, by Constitutional mandate, takes place only once a decade and impacts elections in years ending in 2.

As to the first part of Barone’s analysis, it presumes ceteris paribus. But ceteris haven’t paribused at all. Arizona, Texas, Florida and Georgia (at least) are becoming decidedly more Hispanic and the Carolinas and Georgia are becoming more postindustrial and “ideaopolis” oriented. Further, Virginia, Colorado, and other states are becoming more purple for a variety of reasons.

My guess is that Texas, which is projected to gain 4 seats, and California, which is projected to lose 1, will still be reliably Republican and Democratic, respectively, at the presidential level in 2012. But the number of Electoral Votes isn’t the only thing that changes over the course of a decade. I certainly wouldn’t consider all the states in either list above “safe” for McCain or Obama.

Barone linkvia Edward Christie

This content was used with the permission of Outside the Beltway.

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