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Willisms

« The Third Mainstream Melee. | WILLisms.com | Roger Ailes: Not Fit To Serve. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 241 -- The Future Of The Electoral College.

Sun Belt & Snow Belt Population Changes-

Projecting anything 25 years into the future is difficult, but we can, with a reasonable level of confidence, examine population and demographic trends in the fifty states and forecast relative population levels for 2030. It is those relative population levels (who is up, who is down, and by how much) that matter most in politics, because they determine the apportionment of Congressional seats and Electoral College votes.

Indeed, over the past three decades or so, Republicans have benefited profoundly from growth in deeply Republican states (red states), gaining Electoral College votes in the process; meanwhile, blue states have lost people-- relative to the red states, at least-- losing Electoral College votes along the way.

If trend hold up, we'll continue to see rapid growth in the "Sun Belt," while growth in the "Snow Belt" will be truly anemic:

snowbeltsunbelt.gif

Some of this is foreign immigration. Some is domestic migration within the U.S. Some, meanwhile, is due to differences in birthrates.

Clearly, differences in population growth had economic and political consequences in the past. They will likely have consequences into the future:

advantagesunbelt.gif

After the 2030 Census, "Sun Belt" states are projected to gain a substantial number of Electoral College votes at the expense of the "Snow Belt."

But, wait, you might be thinking, there are red states in the Snow Belt and bluish (or at the least, purple) states in the "Sun Belt." So this doesn't necessarily benefit Republicans or hurt Democrats.

Well, yeah, but take note of these numbers:

bushkerry2030.gif

"Snow Belt" red states will lose relative population and Electoral College votes, but "Snow Belt" blue states will take a much harder kick to the stomach. Meanwhile, "Sun Belt" red states will gain an enormous number of votes, while "Sun Belt" blue states will gain very little.

Some claim that these population changes could lead to a major realignment in American politics, favoring liberals and Democrats. The basis for this claim is that "blue state" people, with "blue state" values and political preferences, are moving to red states. Furthermore, Latino immigration may tip those marginally-Republican states to the Democrats.

These are valid concerns, but Latinos should not be taken for granted by either party. Republicans have made substantial gains with Latinos, especially in Texas and Florida, and especially among non-unionized Latinos. In short, Hispanic immigration is not a slam dunk for Democrats. Next, the "blue state voters moving into red states" theory doesn't hold water for a variety of reasons (many of which I've covered here in the past). Essentially, blue staters moving to red states typically do so for economic reasons. They often seek lower taxes, bigger houses, and a "red state" suburban family-friendly lifestyle. Increasingly, Americans are sequestering themselves into alcoves of politically like-minded people, away from those which which they disagree. Thus, the "Yankeefication" of, say, Texas is a remote possibility. Florida, on the other hand, may see an impact. Similarly, Arizona and states in the Mountain West may become a bit Californiacated.

What this means for America's political system remains to be seen, but it is (overall) bad news for Democrats.

Indeed, by 2030, look at the states projected to lose:

New York: -6
Ohio: -4
Pennsylvania: -4
Illinois: -3
Massachusetts: -2
Michigan: -2
Iowa: -1
Missouri: -1
Kentucky: -1
Louisiana: -1
Indiana: -1
Nebraska: -1
Alabama: -1
West Virginia: -1
Connecticut: -1
Rhode Island: -1
New Jersey: -1
Wisconsin: -1

Indeed, by 2030, look at the states projected to gain:

Florida: +9
Texas: +8
Arizona: +5
Nevada: +2
North Carolina: +2
California: +2
Georgia: +1
Utah: +1
Virginia: +1
Oregon: +1
Washington: +1

Source:
Brookings (.pdf).


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Eco-Idiots.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 December 2005 05:22 PM

Comments

Most Americans are not firmly committed to one party or another. Registration preference changes less often than actual voting patterns.

Instead of saying the voters decide which party is in the majority it is more accurate to say the party itself decides if it will be in power when it adopts positions.

About 1964 the Republicans began adapting to what more voters wanted. The Democrats have essentially kept a static platform for forty years.

The Democrats of today would convincingly defeat Republicans of the 1950's, and they often seem to think such are their GOP opponents.

Posted by: K at December 10, 2005 11:05 PM