This Week's Report: “Changing U.S. Electorate”

by Alan Greenblatt, May 30, 2008

Are demographic trends reshaping U.S. politics?

Demographics have played nearly as large a role in this year’s presidential race as health care, war and the economy. The Democratic field has come down to an African-American man dominating voting among blacks, the young and highly educated voters and a white woman winning older voters, Hispanics and the white working class. Regardless of whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is the nominee, the Democratic candidate’s first order of business will be reuniting party supporters against Republican John McCain. Many trends favor Democrats, including increased support among Latinos and voters under 30. But states that have supported George W. Bush are gaining in population and will gain electoral votes by 2012. One sign of changing voter dynamics is the white working class, which made up a majority of all voters not so long ago and is now the key “swing” group of voters. As the American electorate changes shape, the big question is which party stands to gain the most.

  • Are whites losing political clout?
  • Are suburbs shifting to the Democrats?
  • Are young voters more liberal?
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