Important headlines for June 15th – Demographics are an oversimplification

Important headlines for June 15th  Demographics are an oversimplification of politics – especially in Florida  

Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them... 

Excerpt: Susan MacManus, recently retired as a University of South Florida political scientist and one of the best known political analysts in the state, provided a primer about the metrics to watch during the 2018 election season. 

 One-third of Florida’s registered voters are nonwhite, MacManus said. And that can influence election outcomes. “It’s often race and ethnicity that makes a difference.” Florida’s registered voters are 64 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, and 13 percent black. (MacManus said black voters generally have higher turnout rates than Hispanics, so participation of the two voting blocs is about equal.)  

Hot Take: The story generally provides a comprehensive view of our state's political complexities. It demonstrates the massive demographic shifts but also the fastest growing political party in the state. None. I'll start there first. In the information provided you can see the long term political affiliation trends in Florida:  

1980:  

Democrats: 64.2% 

Republicans: 29.7% 

Indy/Third party: 6.1% 

2000: 

Democrats: 43.4% 

Republicans: 39.1% 

Indy/Third party: 17.5% 

2018:  

Democrats: 37.2% 

Republicans: 35.3% 

Indy/Third party: 27.6% 

As dramatic of a shift as that is so are the demographic differences. In the story a handful of general truths are advanced. Most minorities will vote for Democrats. Most white adults, especially older, will vote for Republicans but most everything else is a bit of an oversimplification.  

A significant part of the oversimplification is the notion that just as the voter composition of the state has radically shifted over the years – that the demographic shift will have the same historical voter pattern. The biggest mistake of all takes place with Hispanics. First, as we know in South Florida, Hispanic can mean thirty different things in proper context. Most importantly, in political context, we increasingly seem "Hispanics" as used by politicos are often identifying as white. So, here's the moral of several political stories. And take it from someone who empirically and accurately has projected every presidential election from 2000 through 2016. There's no more difficult state to track and project in the country than Florida and only current election data trends in conjunction with a bit of historical context is useful. What happened in Florida yesterday isn't what's happening today. Period.  

 

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