Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Republican by Marriage? UPDATED

Listening to Savage in the afternoon gives one the opportunity to learn something.

Here's an interesting little item:

When the Census Bureau released in October its first-ever state-by-state analysis of the links between marriage, fertility and other socioeconomic characteristics, it was hard not to notice the familiar red- and blue-state divisions. The top 11 states with most births per 1,000 women were carried by Republican President George W. Bush in 2004. Of the bottom 11 states, eight were won by Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

[That's not exactly news. But the following IS]:

In the Northeast, the Democratic Party's stronghold, men and women marry later, on average, than in any other region, and the Northeastern states feature some of the highest levels of unmarried-couple households in the nation.
Marriage rate data reveal similarly stark distinctions: Red states dominate the top of the chart while blue states are clustered at the low end.

These figures would be nothing more than curiosities if they weren't so portentous. Democratic strength is concentrated in states with low fertility and low marriage rates, which wouldn't be a problem if these places were attracting large numbers of new residents. But most are not, at least when compared with the fastest-growing states, and that will have consequences after the next decennial census when congressional seats (and thus electoral votes) are reallocated according to population. Based on 2004 population estimates, Poli-data of Lake Ridge, Va., a political data analysis firm, projects that nine states will lose House seats after the next census - all but two of them voted for Kerry. Seven will gain seats - all but one of them carried by Bush. In 2012, even if every state voted the same way it did in 2004, there would be a net gain of six electoral votes for the GOP ticket based on these projections.

Mapping out Census projections two decades from now, the picture gets even more stark: Eight of the top 10 population gainers ranked by projected percentage change between 2000 and 2030 were Bush states in 2004.

...the Census Bureau's marriage data should be more worrisome [for Democrats] than trends in population growth. For if it seems that the Democratic Party is struggling to speak to married people, it might be because it does not represent enough of them to truly understand how that demographic thinks...

Democrats are not only concentrated in low-marriage states but also in low-marriage congressional districts. Consider this: As of 2002, 55 of the top 60 congressional districts ranked by percentage of married people were represented by Republicans.

In other words if you are a Republican, make SURE that your District's residents are getting married. If you're a Democrat, work hard on easy-divorce legislation, or attempt to prevent your constituents from getting married in the first place.

UPDATE: HT GOP3, here's a link to the USAToday story on the same study. Seems Gwen Moore's District fits the general profile above.

Another observation can be made: seems like crime infests "non-married" Districts.

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