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What The Electorate Looks Like

30 Oct 2012

What The Electorate Looks Like

A pollster’s job isn’t simply to tell us who’s winning and who’s losing, according to a Hotline analysis. They also tell us what the electorate is going to look like. And after 3 straight wave cycles, strategists in both parties are understandably skeptical about the numbers they’re seeing. What, exactly, does normal look like these days? Historical trends argue that the electorate this year will look much more like ’08 than ’10. Turnout has grown steadily from 83M in ’92 to 129M in ’08. The percentage of white voters has decreased steadily, from 83% in ’96 to 74% in ’08. And turnout among those between 18 and 29 has stayed pretty steady across WH years, between 17%-18%. Most pollsters, Dem and GOPers, agree that the ’12 electorate will continue the trends: Overall turnout will increase, whites will fall as a percentage of the electorate and younger voters will still turn out. POPULAR VOTE COULD SPLIT- Don’t be too surprised on Election Day if the popular vote goes one way and the electoral vote the other (ah, memories of 2000). Mitt Romney could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, writes National Journal’s Charlie Cook. “Although Obama’s poll numbers are no longer dropping, he is locked in a tight contest. He trails Romney by 1 to 4 percentage points in national polling, yet he still holds a fragile lead in the Electoral College.”

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