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


Ideal Habitat for Florida Dems: By The Numbers

If you are into political prognostication, it can be useful to look past simple voter registration statistics and into the demographic stats that drive partisan performance.

For this experiment, we wanted to see what single demographic measures most impacted the performance of legislative Democrats.  To find the answer we looked at every Democrat in a Florida legslative general election from 2008 to 2012 and evaluated over 100 different demographic variables from each legislative district.

The decision tree diagram below is the result of our analysis. It starts with all 235 general election races and filters them down based on which factor produced the most winning or losing Democrats – that is, which factor best split the winners and the losers.

For example, our first split is with black voting age population. We find that if the district has >15% black voting age population, Democrats won 90% of the time. If the district had <15%, Democrat won 23% of races. The tree then branches down to the next tier which you can see in the diagram below.

Click Image to Enlarge