December 27, 2012

GOP demographic woes may be worse - racial or religious?

Whoa, the GOP may be in even greater demographic trouble than even many of us progressives have thought. Here in Texas, there's an old election saying that: 1 white = 2 blacks = 3 Hispanics. It's overstated, but it's based on historical differences in voter turnout. Well, according to Pew, nationally, 1 white now equals 1 black.

Now, as the chart shows, the difference in black-white turnout rate has been gradually, very gradually, narrowing for some time.

But, in this election, it really narrowed.

So, the obvious next question is "why"?

Two words come immediately to mind, and they are: "Mitt Romney."

Why do I say that? Black voters continued a steady uptick but white voters, who are overall, Republican voters, declined.

(It is true that some white liberals, as well as some black liberals, stayed home rather than either voting for Obama or thinking about Green candidate Jill Stein, but those numbers are probably small.)

So, why did white Republicans stay home?

One possible reason is that, due to his wealth, offshore bank accounts, etc., Romney did turn off some tea partiers who saw him as part of the problem more than part of the solution.

The second (and the two aren't mutually exclusive) is that conservative evangelicals, especially tea partier ones who believe all the Muslim lies about Obama, weren't and aren't ready for a Mormon president.

If it's the former, then any Republican candidate in 2016 who's not a current political office-holder, but instead, has cashed in on political connections, may be a GOP liability.

If it's the latter, then it may not be a GOP demographic issue but a religious one. (That said, are some of those conservative evangelicals still unreconstructed anti-Catholics? I'm sure the numbers are smaller than anti-Mormon ones, but, nonetheless,  it could be a small issue. Food for thought for Santorum and Gingrich, among others.)

Anyway, whatever the cause, the turnout rate issue would partially (other than pure hubris on Team Romney's part) explain why the Romney camp and Rasmussen Reports polls, among others, blew the election. In either case, I wonder if they even thought about polling for the possibility of a Mormon  "Bradley effect"?

No comments: