This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Demographics of the Republican Primary

A post by Dylan Scott on Governoring.com provides a very nice summary of a project called Patchwork Nation that, among other things, keeps track of the geography and demography (which combined comprise spatial demography or geodemographics) of elections in the United States.
Last week, I spoke with Dante Chinni, project director for Patchwork Nation, a project by The Christian Science Monitor, WNYC, Politico and PBS NewsHour that analyzes the votes by geography and various demographics, about the results in Iowa. After a very different set of results in New Hampshire, I caught up with Chinni again to analyze what the New Hampshire win means for Romney and the rest of the Republican field and looked ahead to the upcoming primaries in South Carolina and Florida. A full demographic breakdown from Patchwork Nation of the New Hampshire results can be found here.What about the make-up of New Hampshire's electorate led to Romney's resounding victory there after an extremely thin win in Iowa?Chinni: Essentially the demographics of New Hampshire were excellent for Romney as viewed through our breakdown. More than 60 percent of the state's population lives in counties we call the Monied Burbs, higher than average household incomes and education levels, and that looks like it is Romney's sweet spot. He won the vote from those counties in Iowa and has raised most of his money from those counties overall. In fact, his fundraising footprint looks different from all the other GOP contenders. Add in the fact that he was governor of neighboring Massachusetts and that he has a residence in New Hampshire and you could see a big win coming for him. It's just a very different set of communities than Iowa.With two sets of state data to analyze, what demographics should be comforting or disconcerting for Romney, looking ahead to both the remainder of the primaries and perhaps the general election?Chinni: I maintain that Romney's best news out of Tuesday was how well he did in the Monied Burbs. He won 43 percent of the vote in those four counties. that's better than he or John McCain did in 2008 and his next closest rival was Ron Paul, who won 22 percent of the vote in the Burbs. That's a real thrashing and it shows Romney is the best candidate for the GOP to go after President Obama. Obama won the Burbs by double-digits in 2008 and any GOP challenger who wants to win in November has to do a lot better there.
However, this Bain dust-up is really interesting and it could hit Romney in the Service Worker Center counties. He won only 32 percent of the vote in those places in New Hampshire. Those counties are less well-off than others and they are the kind of place where the Bain/populist attacks could do damage. There are also a lot of Service Worker Centers in the swing Great Lakes states -- like Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. That could be critical in a general election match-up.

This is a very nice geodemographic analysis, and I encourage you to follow this project as we move through the primaries.

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