Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Demographics and the 2012 Election

It is true that some states Obama won in 2008 (like Indiana) are not likely to be blue states in 2012. But it is also true that there are some states that Obama did not win in 2008 that are going to be in play in 2012.

I came across this fascinating interactive map from the Economist that provides demographic, economic, and political data by state. If you look at some of the demographic data, you can see why Obama's people think some states like Arizona and even Texas can be in play in 2012. Obama lost Arizona by just 8.5 points in 2008 despite it being McCain's home state. The large numbers of Hispanic voters in Arizona can flip the state in 2012 just as they have flipped states like New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. Texas is 37% Hispanic and 12% Black. Assuming Rick Perry is not the GOP nominee, Obama's people believe Texas will be in play in 2012. And if Perry is the GOP nominee, the GOP will likely win Texas (though even that is no sure thing as this new poll has Obama's approval rating in Texas at 51% and not far behind Perry) but will have a whole bunch of other problems.

Another interesting data category in this map is age. Pennsylvania's population is one of the older populations in the country and that tells you a lot about why Obama had a little more trouble nailing down this blue state. But old people are not happy about the Ryan Medicare plan and that means Obama is gaining among older voters in states like Florida and ... Arizona.

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