In 2012 – according to exit polls – House Democrats won 60 percent of voters ages 18-29, 51 percent of voters ages 30-44, 47 percent of voters ages 45-64, and 44 percent of voters ages 65 and older. That combination was enough to win them a 49 percent to 48 percent plurality of all votes cast for House (even if Republicans still kept a comfortable majority thanks to Democrats’ inefficient distribution on the map and redistricting).
But had Democrats won the same levels of support among each age group in 2010, Republicans would still have won a clear plurality of all votes cast that year. How? Voters under the age of 30 were 19 percent of all voters in 2012, but just 12 percent of all voters in 2010. Likewise, voters 65 and up were 17 percent of all voters in 2012, but 21 percent of all voters in 2012. Herein lies the biggest danger for Democratic candidates in 2014.
And it looks pretty bad. Basically, the Democrats have the usual “their demographic groups don’t turn out in midterms” problem; and there’s no indication that they’re doing anything effective in reversing that for 2014. Or, more accurately, there’s no indication that Barack Obama is doing anything effective in reversing that for 2014, largely because he doesn’t really care. “I won,” remember? That’s the motto of this administration, first, last, and always.
But here’s the thing. Below is a summary of Cook’s breakdown of the Democratic vote for the last five elections.
As you can see, the Democrats tend to under-perform with older voters as compared to younger ones. This we knew. What was a little less obvious is that Barack Obama strongly over-performs among young people not only as compared to Republicans, but as compared to past Democratic candidates. Not to beat a dead horse, but Barack Obama is not going to be on the ticket in 2016*; so the Democrats are either going to have to find somebody who can similarly drive the younger vote –
Take a quick look around; you see anybody like that? No? Neither do I. And if somebody like that was around, you’d know.
– or they’re going to need to get the elderly vote back. Or they can try to hold onto as much of the youth vote as they can while desperately trying to scare old people, which is another way of saying “they can run Joe Biden in full freak-out mode.” This is actually what I expect the Democrats to do; and I also expect it to go over like a lead balloon. The central problem of Obamaism is that it is a cynical worship of rules-lawyering with a thin veneer of hero-worship: it was well-designed to get and keep the Lightworker in office, and pretty much nothing. Else. At all.
This does not mean that we are going to have a blowout in 2016. It does mean that people are judging 2016 by 2008/2012, which is a… flawed way of looking at the situation.
PS: What’s that? “What about the Latino vote?”
Hispanic women in the United States, who have generally had the highest fertility rates in the country, are choosing to have fewer children. Both immigrant and native-born Latinas had steeper birthrate declines from 2007 to 2010 than other groups, including non-Hispanic whites, blacks and Asians, a drop some demographers and sociologists attribute to changes in the views of many Hispanic women about motherhood.
The decline in birthrates was steepest among Mexican-American women and women who immigrated from Mexico, at 25.7 percent. This has reversed a trend in which immigrant mothers accounted for a rising share of births in the United States, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center. In 2010, birthrates among all Hispanics reached their lowest level in 20 years, the center found.
What about it? – Except to note that every permanent-Democratic-majority scenario out there is resolutely ignoring this minor demographic detail. Or that we’re probably currently seeing a net reversal in illegal immigration. Which is one reason why I don’t get too exercised about the current immigration battle in Congress; there’s less at stake there than some people might admit.
*Gotta love that 22nd Amendment, huh? …Although I imagine that Barack Obama’s counting the days to a comfortable retirement that’s chock-full of people paying good money to pander to the man.