Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Comrades! Has the Suburban Revolution Arrived?

Well, not exactly. But there is definitely something going on. From a spate of recent articles about suburban shifts:
First Read/NBC
"For all of the discussion about whether Democrats can win Texas in 2020, or whether they have solid chances to flip Senate seats in Arizona and Georgia, one demographic development has become crystal clear:
President Donald Trump is losing America’s suburbs.
In the six national NBC/Wall Street Journal polls conducted this year, Trump’s job rating has been underwater among suburban residents — with just one exception.
One other set of numbers: Per the 2018 national House exit poll, 51 percent of all voters were suburban residents, and they broke evenly for Democratic and Republican candidates, 49 percent to 49 percent.
And what do Arizona, Georgia and Texas have in common?
They have lots of suburban voters — either outside one major metropolitan area (in the cases of Arizona and Georgia), or outside multiple major cities (regarding Texas).
The question Democratic primary voters need to ponder: Which of their 20-some candidates is best able to win these suburbs?"
Sahil Kapur/Bloomberg
"After two gruesome mass shootings in a 24-hour span, some Republicans are raising alarms that their opposition to new firearm limits is making the party toxic to the suburban women and college graduates who will shape the 2020 election.
“Republicans are headed for extinction in the suburbs if they don’t distance themselves from the NRA. The GOP needs to put forth solutions to help eradicate the gun violence epidemic,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and oil-and-gas executive who supports President Donald Trump....
The 2018 election reflected a changing landscape on guns. Republicans were swept out of the House majority after losing suburban bastions where they were once dominant — in places like Orange County, California, and around Dallas and Houston in Texas. Voters in 2018 favored stricter gun control by a margin of 22 percentage points, and those who did backed Democrats by a margin of 76% to 22%, according to exit polls. Gun policy ranked as the No. 4 concern, and voters who cited it as their top issue voted for Democrats by a margin of 70% to 29%."
Niall Stanage/The Hill
"President Trump has a problem with suburban voters — and it could have profound consequences for his chances of reelection next year.
An NBC News analysis Monday noted that Trump has been “underwater” with suburban voters in five out of six NBC News–Wall Street Journal polls conducted this year.
That finding comports with other surveys that show Trump performing poorly with some of the key voting blocs that populate the nation’s suburbs, notably white women and white college graduates.
Those dynamics make Trump’s path to reelection a steep one, experts say.
“We are a long way off from November 2020, but my general sense is that it is going to be very tough for him to reverse the Democratic trends in the suburbs,” said Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs and a polling expert at Franklin & Marshall College in the electorally crucial state of Pennsylvania.
Trump won the Keystone State by about 44,000 votes in 2016 — less than 1 percentage point. He rolled up similarly narrow margins of victory in Michigan and Wisconsin, two other states that had been thought to form a reliably Democratic “blue wall.”
The margins were so narrow that any shift in the suburbs could swing those states back into the Democratic column, even if Trump were to retain the enthusiasm of his base."
These shifts are real and potentially enduring. But only potentially. In this regard, it is instructive to to get a clear picture in one's head of who suburban voters actually are. For example reading these articles one gets the impression the suburbs are all about educated whites. But this is highly misleading.
In reality, according to the Catalist data, suburban voters are about one-quarter nonwhites, 30 percent white college graduates and 45 percent white noncollege. That's pretty different from the standard image.
Further if you at the margin shift toward the Democrats in the suburbs in 2018, about as much was accounted for by a pro-Democratic shift among suburban white noncollege voters as by the shift among white college graduates. This is because, while the shift among suburban white college graduates was larger (10 points vs.6 points), the suburban white noncollege group is substantially greater in size.
So: know your 'burbs if you hope to keep this shift going.
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President Trump has a problem with suburban voters — and it could have profound consequences for his chances of reelection next year.

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