The Republican Party's Demographic Future

Stereotypes are often statistically significant, and that is why the relative and absolute decline of the white population is going to hurt the Republican Party. After the last four years the talk of a permanent Republican majority seems especially ridiculous, but even when the Republicans were in charge their long term prospects have been tentative at best.

Source: US Census

Of course, politics is more complicated than just white people vote republican and other people vote for democrats. In order to narrow down the results further, I averaged the CNN exit polls from 2008 and 2004 (Counting the Nader voters as Democrats) to get the table below. 






















Using this table and the US Census data, I generated the following projection:


This projection is obviously a bit off, as Republicans were equal or ahead of democrats in 2000 and 2004.

There are a few factors that bias the analysis towards making democrats appear stronger than they are:

  1. Minority voters are younger and lean more democratic.  Young voters don’t show up in the same numbers as older voters, so an age weighted analysis would show Republicans as better off.
  2. There is some amount of over counting of Hispanic voters, as many of the Hispanic population are illegal aliens and unable to vote.
  3. There is a possibility of over counting of Hispanic voters voting democratic and under estimating the extent to which non-Hispanic white voter’s lean republican because all Hispanic people in the census were assumed to act as if they were Latino. It is very likely that a significant fraction of the Hispanic population told exit polls that they were white instead of Latino.
  4. The Electoral College based system gives Republicans a chance to retain control of the senate and white house via the smaller states with white majorities for far longer than the above chart would suggest.

Even given the above irregularities, it is obvious that demographic trends mean Republicans face an uphill battle. Democrats get the minority votes by supporting entitlement programs that disproportionately benefit minorities. Republicans then imitate the democrats in order to try and get votes, a strategy that is generally ineffective in terms of netting votes and has the effect of permanently expanding the entitlement infrastructure. Brown’s win in Massachusetts may have temporarily halted healthcare reform, but the demographic trend means that victory is only temporary.

The only way demographics are on republican’s side is that the consistent increase in age based entitlement spending from Medicare and Social Security means that a few years down the line the government will not be able to afford any additional entitlement spending without making everyone pay for it.


4 responses
The difference is simple, conservatives prefer independence and self reliance, democrats prefer entitlements and government care. It's obvious when you look at the stats, independence is losing.
I'm trying to get at the reasons why there might be a drift in these types of preferences. Are people changing their mind, or is the aggregate change a reflection of the changing composition of people? I think the latter is being underestimated by many observers.
Republicans have a number of advantages. They have much more money to spend on the elections than do the Democrats. The unions used to have a significant influence via their money and somewhat unified member base. Now the unions have declined in numbers and they have just a small fraction of what Republican leaning businesses can now spend on politics.

Though both parties try to Gerrymander their districts when and where they can, the Republicans--in my view--have done a much better job. Look at Texas. Hispanics are 37% of the population. Blacks are 12%. Asians are 3.6%. So 52.6% of the population is in a group that should vote heavily Democratic. Yet Republicans have almost total control of the state. Of course, another reason is that Hispanic people have a much lower percentage of voting than do whites.

In addition to Hispanic people not voting as frequently as white, many black people actually are disenfranchised because of felony convictions. This is also a significant factor in Texas.

Overall, I expect the Republicans to be very powerful in American politics for many decades.

sigmund. your wrong! i am a union man. and democrat! we spend our spare time and money. helping elect democrats! you don't know what your saying! where are you coming up with this crap? LOL! THERE ARE TEAMSTERS, BOILER MAKERS, IRON WORKERS. OPERATORS. WORKING ON ELECTING DEMOCRATS AT OUR SIDES! IN THE SAME MALL LOT'S. CHURCHS. AND ANYWHERE WE ARE ASKED TO GO! FROM OUR UNIONS!