Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Demographics and the Vote: A Calculator

At RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende and David Byler have a vote calculator:“Demographics and the 2016 Election Scenarios."
The key to operating the tool is the dashboard on top. It defaults to 2012 levels of turnout and support, by racial/ethnic group. Note that we’ve combined “Asian” and “Other,” which was necessitated by the different datasets we’ve used. You’ll also notice that the Democratic lead using the default numbers is about six-tenths of a point larger than the actual result was in 2012; this is demographic change at work.
The left column allows you to adjust the vote share that Republicans win of the various groups, while the right column allows you to adjust turnout by group. For reference, we’ve included a chart after the map that provides turnout and vote shares for the various racial/ethnic groups over time.
...
First, note the limited electoral impact of Hispanic voters. All other things being equal, Republicans would have to fall to 8 percent of the Hispanic vote before another state flips to the Democrats (they would lose the popular vote by almost 10 points in this scenario). For all the talk of Texas potentially voting Democrat, that doesn’t happen until Republicans drop to 5 percent of the Hispanic vote.
...
Second, note the impact of a potential reversion to mean in vote share and turnout among African-American voters. While Republicans won only 4 percent of the black vote in 2008 and 6 percent in 2012, the typical Republican vote share is between 9 and 11 percent. Note also that, historically, African-American participation has lagged white participation by about six percentage points: Black participation lagged white participation by five points in 2000 and 2010, by six points in 1998, 2002, and 2014, and seven points in 2004. The gap was 11 points in 2006.
...
Third, we note that Republicans don’t have to put up a historically good performance among minority groups to win the election. Take the 2014 exit polls. If Republicans win demographic groups at the rates they did in that election, they would win the popular vote by around three points, and carry the Electoral College, 295-243. In this scenario, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin vote for the Democratic candidate by three points or less, while Colorado and Pennsylvania for the Republican candidate by three points or less.
...
Finally, this model does illustrate the importance of demographic change. If you take 2012 levels of turnout, and insert Barack Obama’s vote shares among different groups from 2008, his seven-point victory increases to nine points. Of course, just as it isn’t clear that Republicans can easily return to 10 percent of the vote among African-Americans, it likewise isn’t clear that Democrats can easily win 44 percent of the non-Hispanic white vote anytime soon. But it is nevertheless a nice illustration of the changes that really are occurring in this country, even if the rapidity with which those changes are occurring is often exaggerated.