The Changing Face of the American Electorate

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    • 00:01


    • 00:10

      KEN GOLDSTEIN: There's been a lotof talk about how the changing demographic compositionof the United States is influencing election outcomes.Often, it's talked about as the changing faceof the American electorate.And as we head into 2016, a big question is going to be,

    • 00:30

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: is the 2016 election going to be about the changing faceof the American electorate?Are there demographic forces that are going in a directionthat it's going to make it very advantageous for Democrats?Or is it not going to be a changingface of the American electorate election?Is it going to be a change election,when people want to switch horses

    • 00:52

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: after eight years of having a Democrat, Barack Obama,in the White House?But let's look at some of those trends.One key thing to remember is there'sa big difference between how academics,and scholars, and political professionals look at turnout.People in politics look at votes generated.

    • 01:14

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: So often, you'll hear people in the media,or you'll hear political scientists or social scientiststalk a lot in percentages, and I'm certainlygoing to talk a lot of percentages here.But ultimately, people in politicscare about generating votes, and votes generatedis a function of three things.It's some simple multiplication.

    • 01:39

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: How many eligible voters are there?How many people are there that couldvote in a particular subgroup?What percentage of them are actually turning out to vote?And how are they performing?What percentage of them are voting for the Democrat,and what percentage of them are voting for the Republicans?We've actually seen some pretty significant changes

    • 01:59

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: in the composition of eligible voters in the United States,even in the last 10 or 12 years.So in the 2004 election, 76% of the eligible votersin the United States were white.About 12% were African American.

    • 02:20

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: 8% were Latino.Another way of saying it-- 76% white, 24% non-white.In 2008, about 73% of eligible voters were white.27% were non-white, the number of African American voters

    • 02:41

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: staying about the same, but an uptickin the number of eligible Latino or Hispanic voters.By November of 2012, only eight years after the 2004 election,the percentage of eligible voters who was whitewas now 71%.So that's a 4 and 1/2, five percentage point

    • 03:02

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: drop in the number of eligible voters who were white.So on the one hand, that doesn't seem like a lot,but we are a country of 300 million people,and in only eight years, the percentage of eligible voterschanged by 4 and 1/2 or five percentage points.Another way-- so 71% percent were white.

    • 03:23

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: 29% were not white, number of African Americansstaying about the same, but Latino voters going upanother percentage point.So remember, what we said is votes generatedis a function of how many eligible voters there

    • 03:45

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: are in the group, and then the second thing we need to knowis, what percentage of them turn out to vote?So historically, there's not onlybeen more whites who have been eligible voters,but whites have turned out at higher rates,

    • 04:06

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: but that's also changed in the last couplepresidential elections.67% of whites turned out to vote in 2004.So what did we say?Whites were 75%, 76% of the eligible voters,and 67% of them voted.By 2012, the number of eligible white voters

    • 04:29

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: had dropped, as we discussed, and their turnout dropped.64% of them came out to vote.African Americans-- about the same numberof African Americans as eligible voters, but their turnoutincreased from 60% to 66%.For Latinos, their turnout stayed

    • 04:49

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: about the same-- a brief uptick-- still, fewer than halfof eligible Latinos turned out to votein a high watermark of 2008.And on average, a little less than half of Latinos vote.But there's more eligible Latinos.So we've now got two elements of our math problem.

    • 05:14

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: We have how many eligible voters therewere from each ethnic subgroup and what the turnout rateswere of each of these groups.The next thing to look at is, how are they performing?Who are they voting for, Democrats or Republicans?

    • 05:35

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: And what we see with white votersis white voters voted overwhelminglyfor George W. Bush in 2004, with George W.Bush winning white voters by about 17 percentage points.In 2008, Barack Obama was winning a landslide election,but he lost whites-- lost them not asbadly as John Kerry-- lost them by 12 percentage points.

    • 05:57

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: But when he won reelection in 2012,he lost whites by 20 percentage points.But remember, fewer whites were eligible.Fewer whites were turning out.And certainly, Republicans were generatinglots of votes from whites, but theywere generating less than they might have in the pastbecause there were fewer eligible whites,

    • 06:18

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: and those whites did not turn out at higher rates.When we get to African Americans,African Americans in recent historyhave always been very loyal voters for Democrats,but they were massively loyal for Barack Obamain 2008 and 2012.So whereas John Kerry may have won African Americansby 75 or 80 percentage points in 2004,

    • 06:43

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: Barack Obama was winning African Americansby 90 percentage points in 2008 and 2012.Latinos-- big story in 2004, George W. Bush lost Latinos,but he only lost them by 18 percentage points.Mitt Romney in 2012 lost Latinos by 44 percentage points.

    • 07:13

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: So when you look at the map of Obama's victoryin 2012, just looking at eligible voters by race,turnout by race, and voter performance by race,you see the explanation for his victory.There were a higher share of minority eligible voters,a lower share of white eligible voters.

    • 07:34

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: There was higher minority turnout rateamong African Americans.There was a lower white turnout rate.And there was higher than normal, higherthan usual Democratic margins from African Americansand Latinos.And while Mitt Romney, while the Republicans won whites

    • 07:56

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: by 20 percentage points, and that marginseems to be increasing, that was notenough to offset the greater number of minority voterswho were eligible, and their higher turnout.So again, let's look at the changing faceof the American electorate.We go from an electorate that was 77% white in 2004,

    • 08:17

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: 76%, 77% white in 2004, 71% or 72% in 2012.One of the reasons why we see these Republicans doing betterin mid-term elections is that the changingface of the American electorate-- remember,it's also a function of who turns out to vote.So eligible voters stays the same in a mid-term election,

    • 08:39

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: but non-whites are not turning outin rates that are as high as theydo in presidential elections.So for instance, the percentage non-white in 2008 was 26%.The percentage non-white in 2010 was 23%.The percentage non-white in 2014 was 25%.

    • 09:02

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: The percentage non-white in 2012 was 28%--so non-whites comprising a greater proportionof the electorate in 2008 and 2010,and not as large a proportion of the electorate in the mid-termelections.

    • 09:23

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: So what's going to be the big question for you to think aboutas we head into the 2016 election?Can the Democratic nominee replicate the turnoutand performance of non-whites?We have seen big changes in eligible voters.It's not going to matter who the campaign or who the candidate

    • 09:45

      KEN GOLDSTEIN [continued]: is in terms of eligible voters.That's driven by demographics and changing populationpatterns.But will non-white voters come out to vote,and will they be as loyal to the Democratic nominee in 2016as they were to Obama in 2008 and 2012?[MUSIC PLAYING]

The Changing Face of the American Electorate

View Segments Segment :


Professor Ken Goldstein analyzes the change in voter demographics between 2004 and 2012. Using historical data he demonstrates how the United States voting demographic has been and is changing, and he considers how it will continue to change.

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The Changing Face of the American Electorate

Professor Ken Goldstein analyzes the change in voter demographics between 2004 and 2012. Using historical data he demonstrates how the United States voting demographic has been and is changing, and he considers how it will continue to change.

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