The Most Important Political Demographic Of All
by Chris Bowers, Tue May 08, 2007 at 09:13:55 AM EDT
Two years later, it is worth revisiting this demographic divide. In 2006, the two groups made up virtually identical percentages of the electorate that they made up in 2004: 64% "White-Christian," and 37% "Non White-Christian." Not surprisingly, Democrats did better among both groups in 2006 than 2004. Among "White-Christians," Democrats when from a 63%--36% deficit to a 57%--41% deficit, and among "Non White-Christians," they went from a 68%--30% advantage to a 74%-24% advantage. Overall, Democratic improvement among both groups was virtually identical, although their gains among "Non White-Christians" are more impressive considering Democrats already held a huge advantage among that group. Here are some more thoughts on this demographic divide two years later:
- "Non White-Christians" make up over 60% of the American population under the age of 40, and only about 30% of the national population over the age of 40 (source). The best explanation for why Democrats do so well among younger voters is that younger voters are far less white than older voters, and far less Christian.
- Democrats performed better among "Non White-Christians" in 2006 (74%) than they did in 2004 (68%). That Republicans are actually losing ground among this young and rapidly growing demographic carries seriously negative repercussions for their electoral outlook over the next generation. In twenty years, "Non White-Christians" will compose roughly 50% of the national electorate, instead of the current 37-40%. At that point, if the margins among "Non White-Christians" do not change, Republicans will need an equivalent margin among "White-Christians" in order to remain competitive.
- It should be noted that, despite the supposed lack of diversity on blogs such as MyDD, about 80% of our readerships fits into the "Non White-Christian" category. The blogosphere is heavily populated by white non-Christians, who overall make up about 14% of the electorate.
- In the primary season, considering his strength among African-Americans, seculars, and younger voters, Obama's base is clearly "Non White-Christians."According to Pew, Obama actually leads Clinton among Democratic self-identifying "Non White-Christians." Considering his strength across multiple "Non White-Christian" demographics, Obama might be accurately considered the first top-tier "Non White-Christian" candidate. However, among Democratic self-identifying "White Christians," Obama is actually a distant third, receiving about 18% support. By way of contrast, Edwards performs roughly twice as well among Democratic self-identifying "White Christians" than he does among Democratic self-identifying "Non-White Christians." Clinton does not perform noticeably different among the two groups. Gore is well under 10% among "Non White-Christians."
- It should also be noted that due to their relative youth, "Non-White Christians" are not particularly reliable primary voters. While they make up more than half of the Democratic vote in general elections, they will almost certainly make up noticeably less than half of the Democratic primary electorate in 2008. that difference already appears to be factored into the Pew crosstabs.
The clash of civilizations is thus being fought asymmetrically. One side considers itself the "us" in a battle between "us vs. them," while the other side is trying to destroy the notion of both "us" and "them" in order to end the battle. One coalition wins when the clash of civilizations is being fought, since its existence is predicted upon at least the visualization (if not the realization) of identities that fight such a battle, while the other coalition wins when the clash of civilizations ends or is at least sputtering, since its very existence is predicated upon the possibility of a world without "civilization identities." The end of the clash of civilizations will also result in the end of the two coalitions, as what is currently the main difference between the two coalitions will cease to have any meaning. At that point there will be a major realignment.(...)I'm not sure if there is a difference between "pluralism" and "diversity," but I do know that I prefer the term "pluralism" to express a core progressive value to the term "diversity." Either way, interesting times ahead.
In the interim, which will form the majority of the rest of our lives, the role of progressives and of the Democratic coalition will be to bring about an end to the current order of identity as visualized by large segments of the country and the world. We will win where identity ends, and our children will thank us for it. Maybe there is a clash of civilizations, a clash we need to end. Maybe that is our role in the world.