Monday, February 5, 2018

Hear that? It's Millennials and Gen Zers Taking Over NC's Voter Pool

In my 2017 year-end analysis, I thought that voters under the age of 37--Millennials and Generation Z voters--would eventually become the largest voter bloc in North Carolina's voter registration pool, but I wasn't sure when that would happen.

Well, as of Monday, February 5, 2018, it happened.

As We Entering NC's "Blue-Moon" Mid-term Election, What Are The Trends In Registered Voter Turnout Come November?

With attention now turning to November's mid-term election, questions are being raised about voter turnout in the first "referendum" of the Trump Republican government. And while North Carolina won't have a major state-wide race (such as a U.S. Senate or gubernatorial contest) on its fall ballot, the prospects for Republicans holding their current 10-3 congressional advantage and their super-majorities within the general assembly are already surfacing.

In general, mid-term elections are considered "referendums" on the party in power, especially the party that controls the White House. With Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress (a nominal majority in the U.S. Senate, however, but lacking absolute control of the upper chamber due to the 60 vote cloture rule), the focus through 2018 will be on the GOP and whether voters seek to continue unified party government, or whether the "checks and balances" will come with Democrats claiming one, or perhaps both, congressional chambers.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Exploring Partisanship & Party Loyalty from 1952 to 2016

Much has been made about the role of partisanship in American politics: some call it "tribalism" in the sense that party loyalty drives most views and actions, especially when it comes to voting behavior at the presidential level. And while some believe that the "political independents" can save us (and point to rising numbers in polls that show "independents" are now the largest bloc of voters), the sense of party loyalty has been evident even among these 'faux' independents.

In looking at data from the American National Election Studies from 1952 to 2016, I wanted to get a better sense of how these trends--the perceived rise of independents, as well as the potential rise or decline of partisanship and party loyalty--has been recorded in presidential election years.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Another Significant Court Case Dealing with NC's Congressional Districts

Never underestimate that a major news story can break while you are cooking dinner--which is what happened this evening.

A federal three-judge district court panel for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a 190 page opinion striking down the 2016's congressional district maps drawn by state legislative Republicans. In the past, the factor that drew the court's ire was race, but this time, the judges took square aim at partisan gerrymandering and ruled the 10-3 GOP-favor maps unconstitutional. To summarize, this is a significant opinion that may likely determine how partisanship reigns, or doesn't, in the future of American politics. Here are the highlights of the opinion, based on a Tweet thread that I posted, and a little background:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gallup Finds 42% are Politically "Independent" (But It's Not Really 42%)

It's time once again, when folks will point to today's Gallup Poll findings that in 2017, "42% of Americans, on average, identified as political independents, erasing the decline to 39% seen in the 2016 presidential election year." This will be heralded as the continued demise of political parties, when it comes to partisan identification, and calls will be brought forth for "see, it's time for a third party!"

Thursday, January 4, 2018

North Carolina's "Blue Moon" Election Cycle and Its Congressional Contests

With North Carolina entering its "blue moon" mid-term election cycle (meaning that, with the exception of a few judicial contests, no major state-wide race (for example, a U.S. Senate or gubernatorial contest) will be on the ballot this year in the Old North State), so the focus for Tar Heel political observers will generally be on the legislative districts, both congressional and state house and senate. For this analysis, I'll be focusing on the thirteen congressional districts in the state and their dynamics internally when it comes to voter registration at the beginning of 2018.

First, some general context for whenever we talk about mid-term elections and what we know from the past; and yes, I understand, very acutely, that some of the "rules" that we (political scientists and historians) know from the past have been either "bent" or "broken" when it comes to this current political environment. However, since we don't have anything else to rely upon when it comes to investigating and trying to understand this environment until the actual election, we need to stick with some of the basic principles that have shaped our politics, especially when focusing on mid-term elections.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Some deeper dives into NC's registered Millennial Voters

As a follow-up to the previous post, I thought about the division among race and gender when it comes to North Carolina's Millennial registered voters, and broke out the 2 million registered voters under the age of 35 as of the December 30, 2017 voter registration file, courtesy of the North Carolina Board of Elections.

First, the overall trend lines for registered Millennial and the first members of Generation Z since 1999 and their party registration: