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Changing U.S. Electorate

May 30, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 20
Are demographic trends reshaping U.S. politics?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

Pumped! A young supporter of Sen. Barack Obama cheers the Democratic presidential hopeful in Levitttown, Pa., in April. Obama has benefited from the growing youth vote and the increasing size of the upscale Democratic electorate while Sen. Hillary Clinton has received strong support from white working-class voters, who helped her win the Pennsylvania primary.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Pumped! A young supporter of Sen. Barack Obama cheers the Democratic presidential hopeful in Levitttown, Pa., in April. Obama has benefited from the growing youth vote and the increasing size of the upscale Democratic electorate while Sen. Hillary Clinton has received strong support from white working-class voters, who helped her win the Pennsylvania primary. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Elections
Oct. 29, 2010  Democrats' Future
Apr. 24, 2009  Judicial Elections
May 30, 2008  Changing U.S. ElectorateUpdated
Mar. 12, 2004  Redistricting Disputes
Nov. 02, 2001  Election Reform
Oct. 20, 2000  Low Voter Turnout
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Campaigns and Elections
Conservatism and Liberalism
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