Decision MediaWorks

The Hidden 30-year Trend That Has Dem Operatives Salivating

Among the longest standing assumption among political practitioners is that young voters start liberal and move to the right as they age.

The narrative goes that voters under thirty are traditionally heavily influenced by outspoken peers or lefty college professors. These youthful voters move to the right, however, as they begin careers, pay taxes and have children.

Pollsters watched as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers took predictable paths to voting Republican. The assumption is that Millennials will follow the same course.

They will not.

The chart below shows the generation gap in presidential voting since Jimmy Carter. A few items to note about this chart:

- The generation gap in voting has never been wider. The apparent drop in 2012 is exaggerated because many Millennials turned thirty between presidential elections and were counted in the 30 and over crowd in 2012.

- For most of the last thirty years, there really has not been a generation gap. Younger Boomers and all Gen Xers generally did not swing hard for one party over the other. In fact, the average pre-Obama vote gap was only 3.6 percent.

Millennials are a radically different generation from their parents with regards to communication and social traits. In the coming weeks we will explore what the data says about this large generation and why they will not follow traditional political behavior patterns…and why that matters to Florida’s future.

Enjoy the interactive chart and if you like it, please share it.

Data from Pew Research Center


Who cares about George Zimmerman?

With the verdict over the weekend and the coverage of the subsequent demonstrations, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at what media markets care the most about the trial’s outcome.

Below is a map of the media markets with the highest Google search volumes for “George Zimmerman” (top) and “Trayvon Martin” (bottom). We tested both names to see if there were any geographic differences in search preferences.

A few notes:
– The highest search volumes come out of Florida. Orlando leads the nation in searches for “George Zimmerman” while Tallahassee leads the nation in searches for “Trayvon Martin.”

- The maps are generally similar except for a group of markets in the south that only show up in “Trayvon Martin” searches.

- Search volumes for “Trayvon Martin” are much more evenly distributed among markets. “George Zimmerman” searches concentrate heavily in Florida.

The maps are interactive when you scroll over a region. Take a look, and if you think it is interesting, please share it. If you are into the data trends that drive Florida, please sign up for our mailing list on the sidebar.

N.B. Mobile Twitter browsers may have trouble rendering map embed. If embed does not appear just open this link ( in your regular mobile browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.)

The Meaning of 2010?

We are in the process of creating the first Data Intelligence Briefing, which will take a data-driven look at which districts could switch hands in the next few cycles (The brief will be free, just sign up for our email list on the sidebar).

The chart below shows a line graph depicting GOP performance trends in GOP held seats over the last four cycles.

In general, there is a slight GOP downward trend with the exception of the 2010 cycle. Depending on who you ask, the 2010 cycle was either a sign that Florida is stabilizing politically or just a “bump” on the road to a progressive majority.

The blue line in the chart below shows the average for all GOP seats. The red line gives us a look at what the trend would be if 2010 were just a “fluke.” For the red line, we used Governor Scott’s performance in 2010 to “smooth” out the 2010 bump.

The 2010 question matters because it impacts how you plan for the 2014 cycle specifically and how you view Florida’s political future generally. Will Florida midterm elections remain GOP favorable? Can the Obama campaign machine drive turn out without Obama on the ticket?

If you believe the blue line, the GOP decline is very slight with the average downward slope of .05% per cycle. In essence, securing substantial GOP majorities in congress and the legislature.

If you believe the red line however, the GOP decline is substantial with a dozen Republican held seats showing average performance declines of 1% or more each cycle. In the red line scenario, there would be several new competitive seats.

Let us know your thoughts on the meaning of 2010 via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below. Our upcoming Data Intelligence Briefing will dive deeper into these questions so make sure to sign up for our email list on the sidebar.

Note: We used the average GOP performance in statewide races to determine the performance for each year. Performance figures are for 2012 drawn seats had those boundaries existed in the 2006, 2008 and 2010 cycles.

Avg GOP Performance Per GOP Held Seat (2006-2012)

Do Real Jobs Really Pay for The Jobs Governor?

The mantra of “jobs” has been echoing through the halls of the capitol since the last days of the Crist era.

Governor Rick Scott has hung his hat on being “The Jobs Governor.” But has it worked? Our hypothesis on the virtues of jobs (private sector jobs, specifically) is twofold:

1. Gainfully employed people are satisfied with the status quo and will support incumbents.

2. Gainfully employed people want to keep more of their earnings and will vote for Republican tax policies.

We designed a simple test of the jobs hypothesis. We looked at private sector employment in every 2002 and 2012 drawn House and Senate district and plotted it alongside Scott’s performance in that seat. The resulting interactive graph (and more analysis) is below. Be sure to explore the filter and mouse over tool tips.

A few takeaways:

- Interestingly, the results show that private sector employment is negatively related to Scott’s performance. In fact, for every 1% gain in private sector employment, the Governor lost .30% of the vote share.

- Or, we could be seeing that voters with jobs just are not motivated by a jobs message. An interesting paradox for a Governor who is focused on creating jobs.

- The relationship here is somewhat weak, suggesting that the portion of voters employed in private sector jobs actually had very little bearing on Scott’s 2010 outcome.

- The voter perception of jobs being created may be more valuable than the same voter holding a private sector job. Example: Retirees or active duty-military who vote conservatively but do not actually hold private employment.

In the coming weeks, we will look at more demographic and economic factors and how they will impact the 2014 gubernatorial contest.