Demographic Shifts Not Hurting GOP in Midterms

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 07:01 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The prevailing wisdom among political observers is that the Republican Party faces imminent challenges in maintaining its base as the United States becomes more diverse, but a new study concludes that demographic shifts may take longer to impact the GOP than previously thought.

According to The Washington Post, even as minorities become an increasing percentage of the U.S. population, the GOP may benefit electorally by the consolidation of white votes, said the report, "Will Immigration Spark a White Backlash in America."

"Given that whites still make up about three-quarters of the voters in the nation and will likely be the clear majority for decades to come, there is every reason to believe that whites will have a real say in who governs," wrote Marisa Abrajano, associate professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego and the report's author, according to the Post.

"Indeed the white population's growing allegiance to the Republican Party points to a very different short term future — one that might more likely be highlighted by Republican victory than by Democratic dominance."

Republicans should be concerned about the growing impact of the minority voters, given just one in every 10 people voted for 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

At the same time, that concern may be exaggerated given Romney won the white vote by a 20-point margin over President Barack Obama, the second-largest margin among white voters for a GOP presidential nominee in 30 years, the report noted.

Republicans also had a 23-point win among white voters in the 2010 midterm elections even though whites made up 77 percent of the overall electorate, the Post noted.

"As immigration's impact on America has grown, whites have fled to the Republican party in ever larger numbers. The end result is that the principal partisan choice of white America has been totally reversed," Abrajano said.

The controversy over the illegal immigration crisis, in particular, is making it increasingly likely that the white vote will continue to consolidate behind Republican candidates in the short-to-medium term, Abrajano said.

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