Tuesday, October 6, 2020

That's What I Like 'Bout the South!

Ron Brownstein is out with a great piece on CNN breaking down demographic and voting trends in the five southeastern states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. This is the first article in a series Brownstein is doing on key regions in the 2020 election. The whole series will use, as this article does, extensive data from the States of Change project on estimated demographic composition and changes and past voting patterns in these states.
I will also take this opportunity to flag the new blockbuster report coming out from States of Change on October 19: America's Electoral Future: The Coming Generational Transformation. You'll find it quite eye-opening I think. More on this soon.
Here's the introduction to the article:
"For longtime Republicans in the Southeast states, the region's political evolution has started to resemble a movie running in reverse.
After Democrats dominated the region for the first century after the Civil War, Republicans mostly established their initial inroads in states such as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia during the 1970s and 1980s in the growing suburbs of the region's metropolitan centers. Now the recoil of voters in those same suburbs against President Donald Trump's definition of the GOP is fueling a Democratic resurgence across states that Republicans have dominated for decades. Like a film spooling backward, Republicans are retreating along the same suburban pathways they had followed to establish their first durable beachheads in the region.
Apart from Virginia, which now shades reliably blue, Republicans still hold the upper hand in the states across the Southeast. But while the GOP advantage remains lopsided in the Deep South states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, Democrats this year are showing clear signs of revival in North Carolina, Georgia and even South Carolina, while Florida appears headed for yet another of its trademark razor-thin results in the presidential race.
Across the region, the Democratic recovery is being propelled by two common forces: a growing minority population and a shift toward Democrats among college-educated voters of all races, particularly in the burgeoning suburbs of the region's major metropolitan centers, from Northern Virginia and Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina to Charleston in South Carolina along with Atlanta and Orlando. Even Louisiana and Alabama, though still much more solidly Republican overall, haven't been immune from these dynamics, with Democrats recently electing Gov. John Bel Edwards in the former and Sen. Doug Jones in the latter.
"Republicans are trading gains in smaller slower-growing counties for [losses in] larger faster-growing suburban counties," says longtime Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who first moved to the Southeast in the late 1960s to attend college and then stayed for the next three decades. "That's not a good trade-off in the long run."
Read the whole thing; it's a treasure trove of illuminating data and analysis!

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