As they promised, Catalist/Yair Ghitza have now released their estimates of voter support by group for the 2018 election, with comparisons to previous elections back to 2008. They previously did the same thing for voter composition in 2018. So now we have both and it’s a great resource.
As I noted about Catalist’s earlier estimates of voter composition, these estimates of voter support differ substantially from those of the exit polls.That doesn’t necessarily mean we should just rely on the Catalist data and disregard everything else. Their methodology, while sound, has a lot of moving parts and is almost certainly not getting everything exactly right. Plus, they will be revising their 2018 estimates over time as more data becomes available. However, I do believe that, given the well-documented problems of the exit polls, it is quite plausible that the Catalist data are “righter” than the exits even if not exactly right.
There’s a lot in Ghitza’s report and even more in the spreadsheet the report links to. The report focuses on shifts from the 2016 Presidential to 2018 Congressional election, which seems appropriate under the current political circumstances. Here are some of the most intriguing shifts.
1. Young voters (18-29) supported Democrats by 44 points in 2018 up 18 points from 2016. Moreover, white young voters gave Democrats an impressive 26 point margin in 2018. For that matter, Democrats were also +9 on white voters 30-44. That means Democrats carried all white voters under 45 in 2018 and quite easily at that!
2. As other data sources suggest, Democrats carried white college voters in 2018 (+5) with a solid shift relative to 2016. Both white college women and men contributed to this shift but the largest contribution was by white college women. White noncollege voters, on the other hand, continued to be a problem at -26, only a slight improvement over the previous election.
3. Among nonwhite groups, Asians showed the largest support gains for the Democrats. But, contrary to the exit polls, Hispanics showed a slight slippage in support.
4. Democrats carried suburban white college voters by 7 points, representing a strong 12 point shift over 2016 in the Democrats’ favor. This is more less as expected.
5. But by and large, the strongest shifts in the Democrats’ direction were within rural areas! Comparing overall urban vs. suburban vs. rural areas, the respective pro-Democratic shifts were 1, 5 and 7 points. You see roughly the same pattern when comparing urban whites vs. suburban whites vs. rural whites. You even see a 7 point shift toward the Democrats among white noncollege rural voters!
Even more amazing, the Catalist data show a 25 point shift toward the Democrats among rural 18-29 year olds and a 17 point shift among 30-44 year olds. Most mind-blowing of all, Democrats actually carried rural 18-29 year olds in 2018 by 8 points.
There’s something very interesting going on here!