Demographics: 2010 vs 2008
Michael Tomasky compares the exit polls from the last two elections and notes decided demographic differences:
Certain figures weren’t very different from 2008. The men/women split was the same over both elections, 47% male and 53% female. The “white-no college” category, which we roughly equate with the concept of the white working class, accounted for the same 39% of this year’s vote as it did in 2008. Those voters did vote somewhat more Republican this time. They went for McCain by 58-40% and voted Republican this year by 62-35%.
Here, as far as I can see, are the three big top-line differences:
- The 2008 electorate was 74% white, plus 13% black and 9% Latino. The 2010 numbers were 78, 10 and 8. So it was a considerably whiter electorate.
- In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds made up 18% and those 65-plus made up 16%. Young people actually outvoted old people. This year, the young cohort was down to 11%, and the seniors were up to a whopping 23% of the electorate. That’s a 24-point flip.
- The liberal-moderate-conservative numbers in 2008 were 22%, 44% and 34%. Those numbers for yesterday were 20%, 39% and 41%. A big conservative jump, but in all likelihood because liberals didn’t vote in big numbers.
None of which is shocking, of course. In 2008, eight years of Bush, a bad economy, and a fresh, charismatic leader expected to win at the top of the ticket motivated Democrats to turn out. In 2010, a bad economy, an aggressive Democratic agenda, and a wave of fresh candidates motivated Republicans. At the same time, young Democrats were demotivated by a not-aggressive-enough Progressive agenda and polls showing their side was likely to lose.
Moreover, 2010 was a return to normal. Whites and the elderly almost always turn out at higher rates.