Friday, April 17, 2015

The GOP's Voter ID Problem

As the 2016 cycle begins, a new study documents Americans' Democratic leanings

By Charlie Cook, National Journal

One of the more interesting changes in U.S. politics in recent years has been the increasingly parliamentary nature of voting behavior. Fewer people are straying beyond their party affiliations, we are seeing more straight-ticket voting, and the characteristics of individual candidates mean less than ever. Entering this 2016 presidential cycle, the phenomenon presents a real challenge to Republicans, who are lagging behind in party affiliation—a fact of no small importance, given that roughly 90 percent of voters cast their ballots for the party that they personally identify with.

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center drew on its vast storehouse of national polls and released a survey of the state of Americans' party affiliations that is well worth looking at. Pew examined 25,100 interviews conducted in monthly surveys over 2014; that's important, because aggregating massive samples like this allows closer examination of smaller blocs of voters than the usual sample of 1,000 or so.

Some findings are unsurprising, including which groups tilted most heavily Republican in identification (which means they either identified outright as Republican or said they were independent but leaned Republican). The party has a 48-percentage-point edge among Mormons; 46 points among white evangelical Protestants; 21 points among both white Southerners and white men with some college or less; and 9 points among all whites and members of the Silent Generation (ages 69 to 86). No one will be surprised by the top Democratic / Democratic-leaning groups, either: The party has a 69-percentage-point edge among blacks; 36 points among the religiously unaffiliated; 30 points with both Jews and Hispanics; and 16 points among millennials (ages 18 to 33).

(More here.)


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