washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Is Population Growth Red or Blue?

Chris Cillizza gets some grief in the comments section following his argument in WaPo that new census figures showing that 2004 red states are leading in population growth is good news for the GOP. Cillizza’s analysis of population trends fails to acknowledge that much of the population growth will come from disproportionate increases in the percentage of African American, Latino and out-state migrants, none of whom are likely to favor the GOP. Some of those commenting on Cillizza’s article put it this way:

When looking at the shift in population, it might be wise to consider who is shifting and to where they are shifting. My guess would be that you would find a lot of Democrats shifting from the Northeast to Florida, Georgia, N.C., etc. This will make the 2008 Election much less predictable than usual. (Gail Mountain)
Agree with Gail–this is an extremely specious and vacuous way of looking at these results. As usual, Chris, your republican slip is showing. Always looking for a ‘bright spot’ for your party. I have a feeling that just the opposite of your analysis is true — that those who are moving will simply be making red states bluer. (drindl)
Some radically presumptious analysis here!
Who says that the people who are moving to these states will vote republican? In fact recent gains for democrats appear to be from new voters in states that have traditionally been republican. Indeed, this may be REALLY bad news for the republican party! (dONHAH)
Please consider a follow-up that factors in ethnic and religion changes.It seems to me that Hispanics and immigrants may be as important as raw population numbers in determining the fate of the GOP.Thanks.(Paul Silver)

It goes on like this for more than 100 comments, providing an instructive lesson in what happens when one uses a static analysis to assess a dynamic situation. What is needed instead, is a more thoughtful analysis — Where is the growth coming from? Are Republicans reproducing like rabbits on viagra? How much of the Hispanic influx is permanent or transitory? Is the African American “reverse migration” to the south still strong?
Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in southern cities knows that they are thick with northeastern and midwestern expats. Are these folks Republican refugees or a broader cross-section of sun-seekers and those longing for a slower pace of life? Let’s discuss.