Broward 2018 – First Majority Minority Midterm?

2006-2016 Ethnic Breakdown

2018’s General Election Makeup is On the Cusp of Change

As we enter the home stretch of the 2018 General Election campaign, what will the voter makeup look like for our County? Broward County has been majority minority for quite a few years, but minority voting has lagged. In the 2016 general election, the White Voter base dropped to 47.54%, but going back to 2006 (last data published by Supervisor of Elections), ethnic turnout has been dramatically different for midterms and Presidential Elections.

Ethnic Swings Between Midterms and Presidential Elections

For the recent elections, 2014 was 59.9% White, 26.7% Black, and 14.2% Hispanic. In the 2016 Presidential Year, it was 52.3% White, 25.7% Black, and 22% Hispanic. Contrary to conventional Wisdom, Barack Obama being at the top of the ticket seemed to have little impact on the Black percentage of the voter base, just a general upward trend in broward county (Others removed from this analysis for simplicity).

2016 General Election Ethnic Breakdown
2014 General Election Ethnic Breakdown

Do these swings matter? Absolutely. For Partisan races, black voters break between 4:1 and 9:1 Democratic. Hispanic voters in Florida tend to vote 3:2 Democratic depending on portion of the state. But Broward is a weird county in transition. Two pieces of conventional wisdom should give us pause, since they are subtly contradictory:

  1. Midterm Elections are predominately Whiter and Older
  2. The “Out Party” tends to dominate Midterms

Datasets and Timing

Most political reporters are young, and big data sets for elections are relatively new, which creates a strong recency bias. Since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, we’ve had a quarter century of two-term Presidencies alternating parties. This means that if you start any dataset other than 2002-2016, you’re going to have an unbalanced set of winners. As American politics have hit near parity since 2000, if you don’t include 4 Presidential and 4 Midterm elections in your dataset, you’re going to have a strong bias towards one party in the general, and the other when looking at midterms… working on the mathematically sound basis that years that Republicans win are years that they outperform and the years that Democrats win are years that Democrats outperform. This is mathematically tautological, can only be diagnosed after the election, but illustrates the importance of choosing long enough data sets to not be biased towards the recent winner.

You’ll note that Turnout goes up and down in sync in Broward County. The Republicans outperformed in 2010 and 2014 (Strong GOP years as the outparty), but Democrats outperformed in 2006, a strong Democratic Year as the out party.
Party Turnout Over Time

Turnout should be about 50% for both parties. If it’s as expected, and a strong Democratic year as the outparty, we should see a blue line above the red line. However, Broward County’s turnout has improved over the past 12 years, and both parties should expect a strong turnout.

Ethnic Trends Predict a Different Broward County

Ethnic Turnout Percentages over time

Things get more interesting in the Ethnic Turnout Patterns. Turnout is up overtime in Broward County, but it’s ethnically interesting. It is assumed that Barack Obama heading the Democratic Ticket caused a growth in Black Voter turnout, and in Broward, like nationally, Black Turnout exceeded White Turnout. What’s interesting is that in 2012 and 2016, the same thing happened. Black Turnout that was depressed in 2006 (A Democratic Wave Election) now looks like White Turnout. Hispanic Turnout reached parity in 2016, and it is possible that that continues into 2018.

If Hispanic Turnout, like Black Turnout, has now reached near-parity, then we will see a majority minority midterm for the first time in Broward County, with a 48% White, 23% Black, 19% Hispanic, and 9% Other voter base. If Hispanic Turnout reverses to its previous midterm status, expect to see an electorate that is 54% White, 24% Black, 14% Hispanic, and 8% Other.

Florida’s Top of the Ticket Race, Governor, is a Black candidate. This gives a certain superficial similarity to 2008 and 2012, where Barack Obama was the top of the ticket race.

Non-Partisan Races Should Prepare for a Range of Options

The Black portion of the electorate has been pretty stable between 22% and 25% since becoming serious voters in 2008. Given the remaining at parity in 2016, it seems unlikely that it regresses to the 2006 40% Turnout Rate, which would drop down down to 110,000 black voters. Assuming that 2018 is a Democratic year (as the out party) with a 50% Black Turnout, 140,000 Black Voters seems more likely.

White Turnout is more constant, hovering in the 45% – 50% range, including both 2006 and 2010, alternating wave years. This puts the white voter base between 235,000 and 260,000.

Hispanic Turnout is the wildcard, if the near parity of 2016 is real, we could expect turnout of 45%. If Hispanic Turnout regresses to the prior levels, then 30% is more likely. With the massive growth of Hispanic voters, that puts Hispanic Voter turnout at between 75,000 and 115,000 Voters, a wider range than the larger white voter base. Campaigns would be well to direct their resources handling both scenarios.

Best Guess? What will 2018 Broward Turnout Look like

I am prepared to guess that Black and Hispanic Turnout will be on the high end of their ranges, White turnout will be in the average for the range. That places us with 250,000 White Voters, 140,000 Black Voters, and 115,000 Hispanic Voters, plus another 40,000 “other” voters. With a total voter base of 545,000 voters, how campaigns get to 275,000+ votes will require multi-ethnic coalitions. I’m also predicting that White Voters are going to be 46% of the electorate, our first majority minority midterm general election.

2018 Ethnic Breakdown Prediction

Note: Charts above ignore “other” so the percentages are off. To illustrate my minority-majority prediction, I added them back in.

Social Media is Growing as a News Source

newspaper folded up

Despite the Plethora of #FakeNews, social media is growing as a news source. Even more shocking, its rapidly growing in the over 50 set, while younger Americans seems to have peaked, albeit at 78%.

Thanks to Pew Research for the breakdown, Key trends in social and digital news media. I hope that they’ll update this, because it’s a few months old already, but the trends are clear.

Social Media is Catching Up with Television

News Sources Over Time

In 2016, Television beat Online News by 19 Points. In 2017, Television beat Online News by 7 Points. We’ll expect that 2018 numbers will show that Online is overtaking Television. The shift is rapidly, with explosion is those getting their news on mobile devices.

It’s NOT the Young Driving these Trends

Kristen Bialik and Katerina Matsa Report:

More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults (85%) now get news on a mobile device, up from 72% in 2016. The recent surge has mainly come from growth among older Americans. Roughly two-thirds (67%) of those ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device, a 24-percentage-point jump from 2016 and about three times the share in 2013. Mobile news use also grew among those ages 50 to 64, with about eight-in-ten (79%) now getting news on mobile, about double the share from 2013. Large increases in mobile news use also occurred among those in lower-income households.

If you think that this is a trend among the younger demographic, it’s not. Younger people embraced mobile years ago, the growth is in the senior demographic.

Two out of Three “Senior Citizens” (65+) get their news on a mobile device. Contrary to the image of elderly voters staring at Fox News for hours on end, the growth is among older Americans and lower-income Americans.

Online News Matters. Mobile News Matters.

Do They Believe The Online News

They say that they don’t, they see lots of fake and misleading news, but they keep consuming it. How does a plethora of fake news being consumed impact your perceptions of reality? Is your brain capable of filtering out the misinformation?

Only 5% of people have a lot of trust in the news that they are consuming. People only recognize the source of the news 50% of the time, which creates tremendous opportunities for purveyors of questionable news to impact people that may or may not realize that it is coming from a questionable news source.

The efforts at “Fact Checking” are largely limited to national sources and campaigns. At local levels, there is little to no attempts to filter out fake news. We saw a plethora of nonsense news explode nationally in 2016, but how many local sources are we seeing explode now, pushing nonsensical stories to a willing audience.

How Does This Opinion Leaders

You need to be online, you need to engage with online news, and you need to be promoting in Social Media. Even the people you think aren’t paying attention online, are. The vast majority of Americans now get some or all of their news online, predominately on a mobile device. This shift has happened rapidly, with rapid increases in the last two years.

If you reach out to people the same way in 2018 that you did in 2016 or 2014, you will be shocked at how much the electorate has changed.

Shifting Demographics Cause Rapid Changes in Electorate – 2018 Primary Update

2016 Ethnic Breakdown in Broward County

Much was made in the 2016 election about the growth of the Hispanic voter. Minority voters are not evenly distributed in this country, and in metropolitan South Florida, that is readily apparent. Where we are based, Broward County, just north of Miami, became majority minority years ago, but the electorate is just catching up.

Primary Performance by Minorities Lags

White voters comprise 45% of the Broward County Electorate by registration. In November 2016, a Presidential election, turnout was up across the board, and White Voters were only 47.5% of the vote, slightly above their percentage of the electorate. However, in the August 2016 Primary, where most of the real decisions are made, White voters were 55% of the electorate. In the lower turnout primary (17% vs 72% in the general), the electorate is whiter and generally older.

This causes power to shift subtly, as county wide partisan races are nearly determined entirely in primaries, since Broward County generally votes for Democrats by a 2:1 margin over their Republican opponents. Judicial races, which are non-partisan, will be placed on the primary if there are two candidates instead of the general.

Demographic Trends are Clear, Pace is Delayed

Everything happening on a national scale is happening in Broward County, and it’s happening at the Primary level, just delayed 8 years. If you are campaigning in Broward Primary in 2018, you are facing an electorate with an ethic makeup that looks more similar to a 2010 general election electorate.

Hispanic Voters now turn-out in equal numbers to African Americans for the general election, about 1 point less than White Voters, but in the primary election, the turn-out rate is half that of non Hispanic Voters. This will result in a lower representation of Hispanic interests in judicial elections, since many of them will be determined before they turn to vote.

Trends within the Primary Electorate

Trends show that the white share of the electorate declining about 2.5% each election. It comes in fits and starts, but it is possible that 2018 will be majority, minority, but most likely in 2020 or 2022 we will see this shift in Broward County. This will change in 2018 if Hispanic voter turnout matches White and Black turnout, which would push the white vote under 50%, but most likely it will take a few more cycles.

Gender and Partisan Affiliation is more Constant

Party affiliate shows a slight decline in Republican voters in Broward County, but the pace could be flipped by a single election with an upturn in GOP voters.

Gender remains pretty constant at 55% Female – 45% Male.

Broward Politics Should Become More Diverse

The political establish of Broward may be slow to shift, but as the minority turnout increases each cycle in the primary season, the political leadership of Broward County should continue to shift. The Democratic Party will continue to dominate Broward County politics, but Black and Latino candidates will have a stronger reservoir of ethnically aligned voters in primary races, which should over time make our leadership more representative of the people.

Demographics of Twitter — Teens Catching Up

The latest demographics show Twitter usage amongst teenagers catching up with older dynamics.  The service still dominates in the 35 – 54 year old segment, which makes sense given that the mid-career professionals with nobody looking over their shoulder at the office all day (literally, more likely to have an office or at least a large cubicle) are making more use of a tool that requires constant connectivity for usage.  However, teenagers are slowly taking more of an interest in Twitter, which seemed odd to those that assume that technology is most often adapted by the young and moves up.  In the case of Twitter, it captured the Blackberry-addict demographic, not the TXTing on a phone demographic that they aimed for.  The comScore Blog Entry shows this with some lovely charts.

Twitter started by assuming that you’d want to update your close circle of friends with your goings on.  When Twitter hit the scene, my friends in urban areas on the coasts jumped on it to update everyone with what they were doing socially.  The teenage demographic doesn’t WANT to publish everything publicly, at least where their parents and/or teachers can find it.  Myspace offered teenagers tremendous room for self expression, while Facebook focused on the college (and later high school and young professional) markets of dating and social connection… high college students keeping in touch with high school friends, etc.

Interestingly, Twitter is now integrated with other parts of the web much better, making it a more useful tool for this demographic.  One of my high school classmates posted on Facebook that we should follow her on Twitter, as she isn’t on Facebook much anymore, but whether this is inevitable or a function of Facebook’s chasing Twitter and de-emphasizing what made it originally popular remains to be seen.  The old core of Facebook, finding old friends and reconnecting, or sharing college experiences with friends across the country, seems to have been supplanted in a barrage of data.  Facebook knocked Myspace off as leader by offering a clean and easy to use interface, but when they started fighting Twitter for buzz the news feed stopped being about sharing photographs and more about comments on statuses and wall posts, making it more and more a poor impersonation of Twitter.  If you want status and comments, Twitter’s world of feeds and mentions is a far cleaner interface than Facebook’s increasingly cluttered system.

Teenagers either have a close social circle that they are in touch with, or looking for ways to break out of the social world that they inhabit during the day.  A service that wants to reach them needs to offer one (or both) of those options.  Twitter offers teenagers the ability to aggregate information flow that interests them, and the increasing integration with other aspects of the web make it more interested.  When I was in high school, BBSes were the online way to communicate, by college, ICQ and later AIM became the online social center.  As Twitter takes that portion of the mindspace, Twitter’s relevance in that group increases.  However, the idea that my instant messages would be published on the website (even with the distinction between direct messages and public ones) seems odd to me, but AIM seemed odd to email/USENET users before us.