Who are the Most Valuable Voters of 2016?

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Last week, National Journal published a piece by Ronald Brownstein entitled “The Most Valuable Voters of 2016.” The subtitle sums it up well: “The election may come down to turning out minority voters and wooing seniors in the battleground states.”

It is an analysis of changing demographics in the swing states for the presidential race. It first looks at the declining white vote share across the five states in the Sun Belt: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. “In all five states the model projects that by 2016 the white voter share will drop at least 3 percentage points from where it was as recently as 2008.” The article also points out that the Democratic strategy in the two most recent presidential elections was to mobilize and enhance turnouts of key coalition members, particularly minorities.

In the six Rust Belt swing states (Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), the model projects that adults fifty and older will constitute at least 45 percent of eligible voters by 2016. “The tendency of older adults to outpunch their weight in the actual voting pool magnifies the implications of these changes.”

The article goes on to quote Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist: “While the staunchly conservative Silent Generation dominates today’s senior population, Democrats may benefit over time as more of the early baby boomers, who lean somewhat more left in their preferences, move into retirement. And Clinton could be better suited than Obama to compete for older whites.”


1) Republicans could imitate the Democrats in stimulating turnout among core constituencies, particularly white evangelicals, millions of whom sat out the last two presidential races. Continue Reading