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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Demographics of Primary Voters

Today is primary Election Day here in California. My wife and I have already voted via mail ballot (as we always do), and there is a lot of buzz around the state--and the country--about the results. California now has what has been called a "jungle" primary system, in which everybody running for office is on the same ballot, and the top two vote-getters will be on the November ballot, regardless of their party affiliation (or "preference" as the ballot calls it).

Elections are obviously based on who turns out to vote and so the demographic characteristics of voters, rather than the voter-eligible population, is what matters in the end. A story on NPR's "Here and Now" this morning illustrated the issues facing California. The state has a large immigrant and second-generation population that, even when eligible to vote, has lower turnout rates than the now-minority non-Hispanic white population. This means that within the state, Northern California is more influential politically than the more populous Southern California because voter turnout is higher in the north than in the south. Both parts of the state have high percentages of Asian and Latinos, with the latter especially prevalent in Southern California. Historically, their voter turnout rates have been relatively low, but are perhaps on the upswing. That latter conclusion is not just from California, but my son, Greg Weeks of UNC Charlotte, has noted that trend in North Carolina in a recent TV interview.

So, the bottom line is that the candidates vying for election to national, state, and local offices in November will be determined today by a group of voters whose demographics are not likely to accurately represent the voting-eligible population. This helps to explain some of the funny stuff going on in American politics.

1 comment:

  1. Ways must be found to do at least one more thing: to break the silence regarding the ecological science of human population dynamics. Please, someone, somewhere, take a moment to carefully examine and objectively comment on the near-universally denied, unchallenged research that discloses the evidently unforeseen population dynamics of the human species.

    Thank you,

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.