"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -- JP Curran, 1790

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A historical guide to the future of Conservatism: Part 2

A continuation of my series; A historical guide to the future of Conservatism. See Part 1: Popular Voting in Aggregate for the framework of the series.

Part 2: Gender and Race
As the analysis of the popular vote trends in aggregate showed, Democrats have been building a majority since 1984. Republicans and Conservatives need to increase market share by building a bigger constituency base. Part 2 starts the analysis of the different demographic segments to see where we are strong/weak and where are the opportunities.

Starting with Gender:
According to the 2008 numbers, Women make up 53% of the electorate and Men 47%. On Average (since 1972) Men have been more Republican and Women slightly more Democrat. Men also tended to vote more Independent over the years than Women.

As the graph for Men shows, the years that Democrats have successfully won the White House they got a larger percentage of the male vote, or close to it in 1996.

As the graph for Women shows, the percentage of Women who vote Democrat has steadily been increasing.

So Republicans need to hold the majority of men and work to reverse the trend of women voting Democrat. Having a stronger presence of women in the Republican party is a start. But winning on the domestic social issues is the key to changing female voting patterns. This is still too much of a macro-view of the data to define a prescription.

Next up is Race
In 2008, Whites comprised 74% of electorate, Blacks 13%, Hispanics 9%, and Asians 2%.

As the graphs show, Republicans have won a larger percentage of White votes in every election since 1972. While Democrats have won a larger percentage of Blacks since '72, Hispanics since '80, and Asians since 2000. The Hispanic and Asian datapoints don't go back to '72 but it is clear that Democrats are not only winning the minorities but building upon them.

With 74% of the voting population being White, it's difficult to dissect. One interesting note is the very similar trend lines between the White and Men populations and their voting patterns.

Blacks have shown a solidarity to the Democratic party since before 1972, largely due to the Civil Rights movement and Lyndon Johnson. Its amazing to think that Eisenhower got 39% and Nixon 32% of the Black vote in 1956 and 1960 respectively. Nixon got 18% in 1972, and its been downhill since. With the election of Barack Obama as the first partially-Black President, this will be a difficult demographic to change in the short-term. The potential exists within the Southern Black populations which tend to be more religious and socially conservative then their Northern neighbors.

Republicans have never received more that 50% of the Hispanics vote. Progress was being made from 1996 to 2004 but drastically changed in 2008 with Republicans getting just over 30%. Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the country. There are various projections that they will be the largest minority in the next 5-15 years. This is clearly an opportunity for Republicans and one that we can't afford not to address. We will look more in depth at the Regional data but, it was clear that the Democratic strategy this year was focused on turning the West their way. See Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. All four had booming Hispanic populations that they were able to capitalize on to win those closely contested states. But there is hope (see CA Prop 8). Hispanics are predominantly Catholic, and traditional Catholics at that. We may align with these voters on social issues but in the Western states the main issue is immigration. With Western Hispanics being primarily of Mexican decent, our positions on immigration are sensitive. The key is finding the right balance between security and amnesty. We want to secure the border, those voting Hispanics probably want some due course as well for future immigrants. However, they don't want us to raid and ship away any and all who didn't follow the process. We need to be able to sell the idea that we want to secure the border, make entry and immigration to this country available to those who want to legally cross, and systematically integrate those who are here illegally now in a just and reasonable way. The other key Hispanic group are the Cuban-Americans in Florida. It appears that Russia is restoring Western Hemispheric influence in Venezuela and Cuba. I think that immigration reform along these lines, along with social and foreign relations issues, could change the perception of Republicans among Hispanics and help build a strong future with this growing population.

While only 2% of the voting population were Asians in 2008, there is a clear trend towards the Democrats. President Bush's strong Asian focus and relationships with Japan, Korea, and China helped plateau the decline. But, this year it slipped into the 30% range for the first time for Republicans. The largest concentrations of Asians are in the Pacific coastal states, which have been Democrat strongholds in recent years. There are also growing Asian populations in Minneapolis (largely Hmong and South Asian) and the NC Research Triangle. Both states and regions are growing and will be more and more important to future victories for both parties. Republicans will need to promote free trade and greater involvement in ASEAN.

Composite of Gender and Race
The data sets have been broken into the following 4 composites: Black Men, Black Women, White Men, and White Women.

As discussed earlier, Blacks have an association with Democrats that is stronger than any other demographic group. No other demographic group has consistently supported one party or the other at such overwhelming percentages. I reviewed above some of the ways to reverse this trend. They will be difficult but necessary. By comparison, Black Men tended to be more open to voting Republican or Independent that Black Women. Republicans cannot write-off the Black voters of this country and expect to be successful.

In aggregate, examining the White voting population (74%) is futile. Breaking it down be gender gives a better indication of what's happening.

When comparing the graph of Women and White Women voters, the lines follow similar patterns. However, Republicans have done much better with White Women as a subset than with Women in total. The trend of White Women has been going up for Republicans and is more flat with Democrats compared to Women in aggregate. The graph clearly shows a stumble in 2008 on the growing support from White Women for Republicans. I would attribute this to the lack of focus in the 2008 campaign on domestic issues and McCain allowing Obama to blur the lines on "values" and not forcing him to take a stance on the issues. Until we can rebuild our credibility with minorities, we need to stop the hemorrhaging we saw this year among White Women.

Similar to the comparison above, the trend lines among Men and White Men are almost identical with a larger separation among White Men. One difference from Women is that Democrats have made recent gains among White Men whereas they are more flat with White Women. White Men is obviously a core constituency of the Republican party. Since 1972 we haven't won an election with less that 58%. The lower numbers in 2008 can be attributed to the same reasons provided above for White Women. Both were also affected by the Economic crisis and McCain's unfocused response.

Key takeaways:
  • Hold the majority of Men
  • Reverse the trend toward Democrats among women
  • Republicans cannot be a majority party with +90% of blacks voting Democrat, look for sub-segment of socially conservative Blacks to target
  • Hispanics are the best opportunity to improve among minorities, they are growing and don't have a historical bias toward either party. Immigration is a key issue.
  • Asians are a small percentage but swing voters in key states.
  • Restore the trend of growth among White Men and Women that was interrupted in 2008.

coming sooon... Part 3: Age and Religion

Signing off...JCB

Source: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/national-exit-polls.html Sphere: Related Content

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