What Will PA’s Electorate Look Like in 2016?

2012 Presidential Election County-by-County Results

Democrats have won Pennsylvania in six straight presidential elections, so what will it take for Republicans to flip the Keystone State?

That is the premise of an in-depth and informative study done by Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

It’s no secret that the American electorate is getting less white and that this change has benefitted Democrats in presidential contests recently.

According to Wasserman, though, while this trend helps Democrats, it in no way guarantees victory.

To conduct the study, Wasserman examined the racial demographics in the fifteen states that were decided by less than ten points in 2012.

Those states make up 193 electoral votes. Four of them (totaling 52 EVs) went for Mitt Romney four years ago: Arizona (11); Georgia (16); Missouri (10); and North Carolina (15).

The other eleven (totaling 141 EVs) went for Barack Obama: Colorado (9); Florida (29); Iowa (6); Michigan (16); Minnesota (10); Nevada (6); New Hampshire (4); Ohio (18); Pennsylvania (20); Virginia (13); and Wisconsin (10).

Using exit poll data, he divided the 2012 electorate in these states into five groups: 1. whites with a college degree, 2. whites without a college degree, 3. African-Americans, 4. Latinos, and 5. Asians/Others.

When broken down this way, Pennsylvania’s 2012 electorate was 42.4% college-educated whites, 36.4% non-college whites, 13.1% blacks, 6.1% Latinos, and 2.0% Asians/Others.

Compared to the average of all fifteen states, PA has many more college-educated whites (in fact, second only to New Hampshire). The number of non-college whites and blacks is almost exactly average while there are far less Latino and Asian voters in the commonwealth.

When projected into 2016, the share of non-college whites plummeted to 33%. While the percentage of college-educated whites (44.2) and Latinos (7.2) rose slightly and black (13.4) and Asian (2.3) stayed pretty much flat.

With that information, you can now determine what it would take for a Republican to convert Mitt Romney’s 46.6% into 50.1%.

The next Republican presidential nominee will, according to Wasserman’s projections, have to increase their share of the vote 4.1% across the board from 2012.

The universal technique that is applied here, however, may not be the best method.

For example, black voters have a deep connection with the Democratic Party going back to the New Deal and 1964 Civil Rights Act. While it’s true Barack Obama won’t be on the ballot in 2016, it is likely that blacks will remain loyal to his party for quite some time.

Therefore, a Republican winning 9.6% the black vote in PA is pretty unrealistic. The GOP’s efforts would be much better spent appealing to non-college whites and Latinos instead.

Altogether, though, the whole study is fascinating and provides plenty of lessons and insights into the electoral makeup of Pennsylvania and over a dozen other politically influential states.

3 Responses

  1. Look we in PA want legal immagratration. Also people that want to be American. Not Mexicans that fly Mexico’s flag. I don’t fly a German flag. Also every radical or Jihad comes from Muslim religion. So stop bringing them in.

  2. The electoral system gives the D’s a few big cities in enough big states and the R’s aren’t smart enough to deal with it. And quietly illegals are being allowed to register to vote, more bad news for the R’s.

  3. Many analysts already say that only the 2016 party winner of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire is not a foregone conclusion. So less than a handful of states will continue to dominate and determine the presidential general election.

    Because of state winner-take-all statutes, presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion.
    More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the only ten competitive states in 2012.
    2/3rds of the general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were in just 4 states (OH, FL, VA, IA).
    38 states were ignored.

    Instead, the National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    A survey of Pennsylvania voters showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The National Popular Vote bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter equally in every presidential election.

    It would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The winner would be the candidate who received the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC). When the Electoral College meets, the national popular vote winner would receive all of the electoral votes of the enacting states.

    The bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers in 22 states. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it, including 4 small jurisdictions, 3 medium-size states, and 4 big states.

    See the NationalPopularVote website

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