"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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A historical guide to the future of Conservatism: Part 3

A continuation of my series; A historical guide to the future of Conservatism.

Previous posts:
Part 1: Popular Voting in Aggregate
Part 2: Gender and Race

Part 3: Age and Religion
In this segment we will analyze the breakdowns by Age, a composite of Whites by Age, and Religion.

Breakdown by Age:
According to the 2008 numbers, the age groups made up the following portions of the electorate:

When we look at the 18 - 29 year olds, there is a declining number of Republican voters in this age group. Reagan captured 59% in his landslide in 1984, but Obama trumped that with 66% this year! Likely many are new voters, there was a staggering 34% gap between Obama and McCain in 2008. Republican grass-roots get out the vote efforts were clearly outgunned this year. We need to re-tool and learn from the creative ways the Obama campaign courted younger voters. Issues that concern this age group include: long-term viability of Social Security, Climate control, access to Higher Education, and Jobs as they enter the workforce and begin careers.

Among the 30 - 44 year old, fewer voted Republican than Democrat for the first time since 1996. Seeing a 5% decline from 2004 for Republicans is clearly troubling. This group is typified by young families and middle-aged workers; both core constituencies of Republicans. These voters went for Clinton by a 19% margin in 1996 in the 18-29 year old group. Issues that concern this age group include: Early Education for their kids, costs of Higher Education, Economic stability, Job security, National Security, and Social issues.

Since 1992, 45 - 59 year olds have had the closest margin of error. Some are the tale-end of the "Baby Boomer" generation, they are older workers with adult children and probably concerned about their retirement. These are the same voters who favored Reagan at 59% in the 18-29 year old group in 1984.

Despite a decline of 3% from 2004, it is positive that Republicans held a majority of the +60 year olds. As a voting population they turnout more consistently and sway from pre-election polling less than the other age groups.

Breakdown by Age/Race :
The data for the same for age groups by White voters only shows:

When the graphs are viewed side by side by Age group vs. White only by Age Group, it reiterates the analysis I conducted in Part 2. The trend lines are similar only down more for Republicans when minorities are added and more inclined for Democrats. It is interesting the differential numbers for the age groups. In the +60 year olds, on 4% are non-White whereas 9% of 30-44 year olds are. Obviously our efforts to court more minority voters needs to be focused on the younger age groups. Not only because of their percentages but also for longevity.

Breakdown by Religions:

The proportional representation by Religion:

Republicans have dominated the White Protestant vote having only dropped below 50% once since 1972, that was in 1992. McCain was down only 2% points from the 2004 share so he held this group. Going forward this is obviously a core constituency of the Republican party that has to be held.

The White Catholic votes, while only half that of White Protestants, is a bellwether. Since 1972, and before, as the Catholics have gone so has the election. 2008 was the exception, with McCain getting 52% to Barack's 47%. They have been and will continue to be a difficult population to stereotype. Their predominance in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Southwest crosses some important recent battleground states. I believe that there is a growing rift in the Catholic church between those who regularly attend masses and accept Papal doctrine and those who attend less frequently and reject Papal authority or influence on their decisions. As the graph of those who Attend Religious Services weekly shows, the former group tends to be more Conservative while the latter is more Liberal. Not to over-emphasize the obvious but the frequent attendees are more Socially Conservative. In the Catholic faith these voters are more likely to vote on the "Life" issues first, taking a cue from Vatican doctrines. Republicans have toed the line on capital punishment but have benefited from their ardent support for Life in regards to abortion and stem cell research.

The Jewish vote, while only 2% of the electorate, has moved strongly to the Left. It is an important group of voters in contested states like Florida, with a high concentration of Jewish voters. Our stance towards the defense of Israel is the most important means in which to influence this group.

The Born-again or Evangelical Christian voter have gone Republican by no less than 16% in every election since 1972. The data is not available for 1996 and 2000, but it can be assumed that these voters also favored Republicans in those years. This is obviously another core constituency of the Republican party and offers another example of the need to focus on principles in the future rather than run away from them. A concerning point is that McCain got 8% less than Bush in 2004.

I mentioned earlier that those who Attend Religious Services weekly make up 40% of the electorate and favor Republicans be +50%. McCain lost about 5% of this vote from 2004, some of that being the cross-section of born-again Evangelicals. The practice of Religion has had its ups and down in the past few decades in the U.S. In the late 90s, regular church attendance and association with a specific religion were at all time lows. There was a resurgence in the past decade. Aided by the focus on social and value issues, Bush dominated these voting blocks in 2000 and 2004. Some attribute his margins of victory to these voters specifically. The challenge going forward will be to hold to our principles while applying ingenuity to new ideas to capture the voters who were absent in 2008.

Key Takeaways:
  • Improve and reverse the trend of 18-29 going Democrat
  • Recapture the 30-44 year old voters
  • Hold a majority among the +60 year olds
  • Build upon core constituencies of White Protestants, Born again Evangelicals, and those who attend service regularly
  • Improve our numbers within the Jewish community
  • Win the battle for White Catholic votes. Carefully watch the changes of the U.S. Catholic Church and highlight "Life" issues to keep the Pro-Life voter.
coming soon... Part 4: Regional and Population Size

Signing off...JCB

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

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