Tags: | Arkansas | blue | red | Mark Pryor

Changing Demographics Favor GOP in Arkansas

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 09:08 PM

Changing demographics in Arkansas are turning a traditionally blue state into a reliably red one.

With the unpopularity of President Barack Obama added to the mix, incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor's chances of re-election this midterm are grim at best, The New York Times reports.

The Times notes that population losses in the rural eastern part of the state and along the Mississippi River have drained rural black and conservative white voters who formed the traditional Democratic coalition, while Republican strength has grown in conservative metropolitan areas, which have had a population boom over the last decade.

When Pryor, a Democrat, first won his Senate seat in 2002, the five fast-growing Republican-leaning metropolitan counties held 19.9 percent of the state's population. They now hold 25.6 percent of it, The Times reports.

Democrat-leaning counties where Pryor received at least 60 percent of the vote now represent just 21.5 percent of the population, compared with 23.4 percent in 2000, the newspaper adds.

Voters who remain in these Democratic-leaning areas are not as Democratic as they once were, The Times reports – not only turning against the national Democratic Party, but aging out of it.

The generation of voters who came of age when Dixiecrats still reigned in the South "were the most reliably Democratic cohort in Arkansas," The Times reports.

The "Greatest Generation," who were young adults during World War II, represented 11 percent of voters nationally in 2002, The Times reports, citing a population survey. Now in their late 80s or older, they represented just 2.4 percent of the electorate in 2012.

Voters born from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s are taking their place, and they are "far less attached to the Democrats," The Times reports.

In addition, the white share of the electorate has remained mostly the same over the last decade, meaning the Arkansas electorate has not become more diverse.

Given those trends, Pryor "would be hard pressed to win re-election in Arkansas today, even under better circumstances," The Times notes.

"That 2014 is an off-year election with the incumbent Democratic president extremely unpopular in Arkansas only makes matters worse."

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Changing demographics in Arkansas are turning a traditionally blue state into a reliably red one. With the unpopularity of President Barack Obama added to the mix, incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor's chances of re-election this midterm are grim at best, The New York Times reports.
Arkansas, blue, red, Mark Pryor
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2014-08-22
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 09:08 PM
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