Demographic Doom for GOP? Hardly, says new Census Bureau voting report

"2008prescountymap" by Tilden76 at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

The political narrative has been told and retold thusly that, in a realm in which political parties live and die on demographic trends, the GOP is on the losing end of the massive shifts in population.

The theory has been cited as explanation for why trends in the last decade or more have seen the GOP dominate non-presidential election cycles while Democrats have owned the presidentials.

But new data released by the Census Bureau this week has turned that notion on its head and could serve as a wrench in the cogs of political calculation.

According to the bureau’s recent voting supplement report, the electorate in the 2014 election was just as demographically diverse as it was in 2008.

Among the findings were several distinct data: the percentage of white voters in both elections was 76%; the percentage of black voters in both was 12%; and the percentage of Hispanics and Asians in both were, respectively, 7% and just under 3%.

The parity in these election cycles comes despite the 12-point swing in victory in which the Democrats won handily in 2008 and Republicans in 2014.

As Harry Enten of the 538 blog aptly points out, a more diverse country does not automatically equal a more Democrat country. He writes:

If the exit polls are to be believed (and they aren’t perfect), it was not that any one group became more Republican in 2014. Instead, they all did. Republicans won among whites by 22 percentage points instead of 12 percentage points. Republicans lost black voters by 79 percentage points versus 91 percentage points. They trailed among Hispanics by 26 percentage points rather than 36 percentage points. They won Asian voters by 1 percentage point instead of losing them by 27 points.

He goes on to not as well that the “18- to 29-year-old voters who turned out in 2014 voted Republican by 23 percentage points more than 18- to 29-year-olds in 2008.”

This has huge implications for the question whether the Right needs to change its principles. Hint: we don’t.