Who Votes Republican?

 

Exit polls aren’t always 100 percent reliable. For example, in 2016, the exit interviews suggested that Donald Trump would lose Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina by small margins. He won all of them.

Let’s take it as given that 2018’s exit polls are likely flawed in the same way. Still, they are among the most interesting polls because they reflect the views of actual voters — not “registered” or “likely,” but the real McCoy. Margins of error we shall always have with us, but it shouldn’t stifle all punditry.

Some of the data about this year’s crop of voters is similar to what we’ve seen in past contests, but there are some trends that should give Republicans and Democrats alike cause for reflection.

A majority of voters (56 percent) were over the age of 50. This helped Republicans, as older voters skew more Republican. But it didn’t help as much as it could have because even among older voters, enthusiasm for Republicans was muted. Among those aged 50 and above, only half gave their votes this year to a Republican candidate. Among the younger set, by contrast, lopsided percentages voted for Democrats. The 18 to 24-year-olds gave 68 percent of their support to Democrats. Among the 25 to 29s, 66 percent voted Democrat. It was 59 percent among voters in their 30s, and 52 percent among those in their 40s.

As in the past, white voters have tilted Republican while minorities strongly favor Democrats. Fifty-four percent of white voters chose the Republican this year, while 90 percent of blacks, 69 percent of Hispanics, 77 percent of Asians, and 54 percent of other races voted Democrat. That Republicans have failed to make inroads with minority voters – who, come what may, will constitute a larger and larger share of the electorate in coming years – will yet cause tears. But even in the shorter run, like 2020, this should make Republicans nervous. Whereas 53 percent of white women voted Republican in 2016, the party lost ground in 2018. An equal number of white women gave their votes to Democrats (49 percent) as to Republicans (49 percent).

Another old reliable group for Republicans has been married adults. Fifty-two percent of married voters chose Trump in 2016. Fifty six percent had been Romney voters in 2012. But in 2018, the percentage of married people who voted Republican dropped to 47 percent. Now it’s possible that many Republican voters sat out this midterm and we are thus getting a skewed picture of how married voters will behave in 2020. But that’s not a good sign for the party’s health either. Republicans are usually better about voting in off years than Democrats.

What about the white, male, non-college grads we’ve heard so much about? Seventy-one percent voted Republican in 2016. In 2018, there was a little slippage. Only 66 percent voted Republican this time. Results were similar for non-college women. It may not mean anything, but when races are won by such slender margins, who can say what’s significant and what isn’t?

Many politicos suggest that elections these days are decided by riling up and turning out the base, not by persuading the middle. Maybe that’s right. But if it isn’t, Republicans might want to look over their shoulders at what’s happening with independents. Fifty-four percent of self-described independents voted Democrat in 2018, compared with only 42 percent in 2016. Among those calling themselves “moderates,” 52 percent voted for Clinton two years ago, while 62 percent voted Democrat on Tuesday.

Democrats too should comb these exit polls for clues to where they’ve gone wrong. Fifty-three percent of voters said President Trump’s immigration policies are either “about right” (33 percent) or “not tough enough” (17 percent). Portraying immigration policy as a contest between the big-hearted and the bigots is not going to serve Democrats well.

A solid 56 percent of voters oppose the suggestion that Congress should impeach President Trump. While 54 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of the president, that is nothing like the 90 percent disapproval among Democrats. Opinions of the Democratic Party aren’t so hot either. Only 48 percent have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party (versus 44 for the Republican Party), and only 31 percent have a positive view of Nancy Pelosi.

A number of high-profile, high-octane, lefty candidates were defeated – Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and (likely) Stacey Abrams. This should cue the Democrats to look to their right for more viable choices. In the Republican Party, alas, it was mostly the moderates who were defeated – another artifact of Trump’s rise. The sensible middle still waits for a voice.

Published in Politics
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There are 7 comments.

  1. Reagan

    A great post. Mona rocks!

    • #1
    • November 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm
    • 1 like
  2. Thatcher

    I always thought McCain-Feingold was an infringement on First Amendment rights (No thanks to a flawed Senator McCain for fighting to water down our Constitution).

    However, that terrible law does raise an interesting question: What really is a major interference of an election which could warrant a ban on all related activity before said election?

    I say it is polling. Modern political polls are designed for one thing only – to influence elections. Any poll which says “The outcome is a done deal!” is meant to discourage those who would oppose said outcome from voting against it. Can you say, “Voter suppression”?

    Polls today are also manufactured to create opinion or skew the analysis of election results. I absolutely love Mona to death, but I pray she takes any poll (even those which support her arguments) with a healthy grain of salt . . .

    My suggestion. We should ban polls before an election. I think McCain-Feingold said 30 and 60 days of a ban on outside ads was good. How about a ban on polls with the same time frame? Better yet, how about a ban on all political polls, period?

     

     

    • #2
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:22 pm
    • 1 like
  3. Member
    Lee

    Although I did vote this year, as a Republican in the deep blue Chicago suburb of Oak Park I had no one to vote for with a chance of winning. Gov. Rauner was obviously going to lose, along with every other statewide Republican candidate. The Congressional and state legislative districts are even more stacked to the Dems.

    My point in saying this is that I’m sure there are millions of Republicans in similar deep blue areas that chose not to vote, and that this would impact the exit polling. In areas where Democrats are the minority party they are usually a much larger minority with at least a few races where their candidate has a realistic chance.

    • #3
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm
    • 2 likes
  4. Inactive

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Mona rocks!

    This provoked me to go to YouTube and search for “bass player interview you easily amused”. Sure enough, there it was. Funny, I’d misremembered: I’d thought it was the musician’s ability to say “Egg McMuffin” that so awed “Mr. Rogers” but it was something else, and much earlier, at about 1:12.

    • #4
    • November 8, 2018 at 4:34 pm
    • Like
  5. Coolidge

    The sensible middle still waits for a voice.

    But the parameters for what makes the sensisble middle haven’t been clearly defined. You say that Democrats should be wary on polling on immigration when 50 percent agree with Trump, then maybe Trump is your middle with bad presentation skills? I don’t think it’s a problem with poll numbers I think it’s a matter of “poll questions.” If you have someone ask “how would you describe yourself” most people, no matter their ideology think they are moderate and the other side is extreme.

    Fiscal conservatives seem to be the ones lacking a home.

    What turned off the sensible middle that would overwhelm an electorate on McCain and Romney who both lost national elections after winning “our” primaries? They were fairly moderate fiscally. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are in the middle on women’s issues, Marco Rubio is moderate on immigration, there’s plenty of “Gang of 8” Republicans around and plenty of big government Republicans around.. Policy wise Donald Trump is pro-tariff, wants a more compassionate reform of Obamacare. He’s not a fiscal conservative, religious right conservative nor a movement conservative.

    I tend to think a non-abrasive Trump is your middle unless one can define one that doesn’t mean “Big Government Republican.” Moderate Democrats are means to an end and as leadership, a thing of the past. Go win seats so the ideological wing can create the policy. Go too moderate and if you’re dark blue, you get primaried.

     

     

    • #5
    • November 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm
    • Like
  6. Reagan

    Stad (View Comment):

    I always thought McCain-Feingold was an infringement on First Amendment rights (No thanks to a flawed Senator McCain for fighting to water down our Constitution).

    However, that terrible law does raise an interesting question: What really is a major interference of an election which could warrant a ban on all related activity before said election?

    I say it is polling. Modern political polls are designed for one thing only – to influence elections. Any poll which says “The outcome is a done deal!” is meant to discourage those who would oppose said outcome from voting against it. Can you say, “Voter suppression”?

    Polls today are also manufactured to create opinion or skew the analysis of election results. I absolutely love Mona to death, but I pray she takes any poll (even those which support her arguments) with a healthy grain of salt . . .

    My suggestion. We should ban polls before an election. I think McCain-Feingold said 30 and 60 days of a ban on outside ads was good. How about a ban on polls with the same time frame? Better yet, how about a ban on all political polls, period?

    I would think that this would violate the First Amendment Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press.

    • #6
    • November 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm
    • 1 like
  7. Thatcher

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I always thought McCain-Feingold was an infringement on First Amendment rights (No thanks to a flawed Senator McCain for fighting to water down our Constitution).

    However, that terrible law does raise an interesting question: What really is a major interference of an election which could warrant a ban on all related activity before said election?

    I say it is polling. Modern political polls are designed for one thing only – to influence elections. Any poll which says “The outcome is a done deal!” is meant to discourage those who would oppose said outcome from voting against it. Can you say, “Voter suppression”?

    Polls today are also manufactured to create opinion or skew the analysis of election results. I absolutely love Mona to death, but I pray she takes any poll (even those which support her arguments) with a healthy grain of salt . . .

    My suggestion. We should ban polls before an election. I think McCain-Feingold said 30 and 60 days of a ban on outside ads was good. How about a ban on polls with the same time frame? Better yet, how about a ban on all political polls, period?

    I would think that this would violate the First Amendment Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press.

    Of course it would!

    However, it took a trip to the Supreme Court to “find out” McCain-Feingold was also a violation. How long did that take?

    • #7
    • November 9, 2018 at 5:51 am
    • Like