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, November 8, 2012

Demographics Drove the US Election

I mentioned briefly on election night that demographics had been decisive in the re-election of President Obama, not to mention other races for the House of Representatives and the Senate. The news media have been all over the story of demography driving the election. The New York Times put together a very nice graphic showing that women, Latinos, and younger voters were the important demographic "swing" groups. There simply are not enough non-Hispanic white men in the US to carry the Republican Party to victory anymore. If the party is to remain viable it will almost certainly have to change its positions on women's reproductive rights and on immigrant and immigration issues.

The election was also a victory for "arithmetic," exemplified by Nate Silver's very useful analysis of the opinion polls that were being conducted literally on a daily basis as the election neared. In his algorithm, one of the key ingredients is the appropriate weighting given in poll results to the demographics of likely voters. You can see a discussion of this on last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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