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.

A Tory Government and Internet Marketing

Most American Internet marketers are focused 100% on the United States market. It’s an easy decision, it’s the home market, there are few language issues (Spanish language websites are still rare, even for Sun Belt companies), there are 300 million Americans, and it’s a market they know. Those that branch out include some focus on Canada, and occasionally, the UK and Australia play a role. While the allocation of votes has left the Conservative Party with a near majority, it appears that the Tories are about to place their first Prime Minister since Tony Blair’s victory in 1997 — for fun, I went to the Wayback machine to pull a BBC link from before May 1st, 1997, the last time the Conservative Party held power, note the changes on today’s version of the BBC.  Quirks of the electoral map are interesting to political junkies, since the Conservative victory was much larger than Labour’s in 2005 in raw votes, but Labour’s 3 point margin left them with a large seat advantage.  Whether this minority government or coalition government lasts the five year term or not, it is a major change in government.

What makes this interesting is that Labour’s 13 year run included the entire Internet revolution.  When the Conservative Party last held power, 1997, the Internet was in its infancy, and primarily in America.  Now 70% of UK Households have broadband, an entire new industry has cropped up.  In 1997, Windows 95 was still new at bundling Internet Explorer, Netscape was the dominant platform, and plenty of homes lacked a personal computer.

The Internet world is dominated by issues of privacy, security, and taxation.  How will a center-right government approach issues of International trade for services and virtual products.  A young Internet marketer was in middle school when the Tories last held power, making the UK a fixed entity for most of their life.

The International Media is focused on Foreign Policy and issues regarding EU integration, but nobody is talking about any of the areas that might affect our area of the economy.  With the Conservatives pull back from the EU, resulting in less onerous privacy issues, will tax reform make doing business in the UK more interesting?  When we were expanding, we hosted a UK site ( in the UK, and dealing with issues of payment and legalities were onerous, and issue that a new Conservative government make seek to change.

Labour’s base was “working class” men and women in the cities, the knowledge economy wasn’t a blip on their radar.  Does a new legal environment open up exciting opportunities, or will this area of the economy be ignored.  A hung parliament with a minority or coalition government usually doesn’t last long in the UK’s system, so minor changes and a “snap poll” within a year is possible, or will the Conservatives try to make major changes fast before their government falls and they return to the polls?

Ethnic Micro-targeting on Facebook

So again I open my email to an article about the creepy way of finding Jews to market to on Facebook, this time entitled, Kosher Ham’s Jewdar Tell-All.  A while back, I commented on how I would identify people by ethnicity on Facebook, Ethnic Targeting on Facebook, and I was amused to see an article almost half a year later laying out the things that popped into my head in 10 minutes.  However, there were two things that bothered me in this article:

  1. Actually targetting Jews with an advertisement for a “Kosher Ham” business seems really bottom of the barrel, a proud Christian or Muslim wouldn’t target their fellow members of faith with an anti-Christian or anti-Muslim business, would they?
  2. They outrageously list the social groups they target, listing a few historically Jewish fraternities and leave out AEPi (Alpha Epsilon Pi), the Jewish fraternity.

In all seriousness, the point they make is that when targeting a group, you aren’t looking for 100% accuracy, just decent accuracy.  The US Jewish population is about 2%, targeting everyone looking for Jewish customers is pointless.  However, online we can develop sub groups with decent Jewish accuracy, and similar options exist for other populations.

For example, approximately 12% of New York City is Jewish, if you target people in New York City, you’ll get more non-Jews than Jews, but you are reaching 6 times more Jews than reaching just the United States.  Further, looking for keywords associated with secular Jewish culture (obviously a business making fun of Jewish dietary law as part of its snark isn’t looking for religious affiliation), you can start to reach a targeted segment.

Now, many, perhaps most Jews on Facebook won’t have ANY interests related to Jewishness on their profile, and if your goal is to reach all Jews, this will fail.  If you were running a political campaign and targeting Jews with a message, only reaching 40%-60% of the Jews on Facebook might not be enough.  However, for running a CPC campaign, it doesn’t matter what percentage of the Jews on Facebook I reach, what matters is what percentage of the people that I reach are Jewish.  Running an online small business doesn’t require “market share,” it requires reaching profitable customers.

If you only target people affiliated with ethnically aligned groups, you might find some segments that are 80% – 95% your target demographic, which means that you’ll get higher click through rates and waste fewer clicks.  People affiliated with those aligned groups, even if not of that ethnicity, might be useful to target anyway.  Someone that frequented Hillel events, even though not Jewish, is probably either a prime target for Jewish-themed T-shirts, either for themselves or as a gift, making your targeting even better.  National ad campaigns are difficult, finding potential customers for a business is much easier.

Despite Recession, Online Advertising Increases in 2009, projected higher in 2010

Every year, more and more of retail takes place online.  The recession is pushing toward more direct response advertising, causing an uptick in online advertising between 3% and 5% in an otherwise down year.  Search is expected to perform similarly, and 2010 is predicting an increase in online advertising dollars between 10% and 15%.  For online publishers and advertisers, this means that despite sluggish growth overall, the Internet continues to grow at several times the overall economy.  Although search engine consolidation has caused bid prices to increases, the prevalence of content networks and alternative search networks creates new opportunities for online advertisers to reach customers in a cost effective manner.

Social Media appears to be one of the interesting potential story, as a source of advertising dollars and business, search continues to grow, display ads are relatively stagnant, and alternative campaigns in new medias inches upward.  Despite it’s status as media darling, Twitter remains a small niche play, with popular Facebook game FarmVille having more users than Twitter.  Email newsletters remain big business, but the movement from getting content pushed into your inbox toward networks and feeds continues, creating new opportunities for online advertisement.  2009 looks to have finished as a slight positive in a down economy, and 2010 looks quite promising.

Social Search – Critical for Time Sensitive Programs

Bing and Google announced deals with Twitter to access and utilize their data, and Search Insider is discussing the first impacts of this.  What’s most interesting is that this might be the first major change since “FreshBot” was added to Google (and later became the primary crawler).  Old hand SEOs remember the crazy update schedules of the early engines, but Google’s monthly “Google Dance” as their crawler finished and about a week later the PageRank was computed and the new index went up across their data centers.  Google started crawling and updating with “fresh” data (tagged with the data) with a guestimated PageRank for placement, and as they got faster at computing changes across the Internet, these Fresh results were no longer being inserted, they were the results.

Twitter has a disproportionate presence in media circles and other influential areas.  Twitter data, including trends, what people are talking about, etc., provides a view into what is new and what is going on.  While news feeds capture the mainstream coverage, Twitter will know what is news to the Internet.  This powerful medium helps determine if you are dealing with a “Google Bomb” or a bona fide story.  While Google originally assumed if people linked to you, like a citation in Academia, that made you authoritative, but only a select subset of the population had websites.  Blogs were more common than a full site, but Twitter is even more available to anyone.  Link and information trading on Twitter happens faster than someone writing a blog post, let along researching a news story, so Twitter gives a view into what is happening now.

This is an exciting time in search.  Twitter data will make it even more exciting.

Mobile Web Like Web in 90s (Usability)

Usability is generally ignored on the web today, not because it isn’t a big deal, but because the “common” design patterns are all reasonably usable.  Users are comfortable with the interface, nobody really does remarkably stupid things.  In the late 90s and early 2000s, that wasn’t the case.

Today, the mobile web is the talk, and apparently, we have the same usability problems that we had 10 years ago…  While users have an 80% success rate attempting a task on the web on their computer, it drops to 59% on their phone.

“Observing users suffer during our  … sessions reminded us of the very first usability studies we did with traditional websites in 1994,” writes Jakob Nielson (free plug, I found this article from his website, Use It.  Indeed, the Web 2.0 “Design strategy” of two columns over 3, most common operation front and center, and large fonts show that the Web 2.0 “revolution” largely involved Flash being replaced with sensible Javascript and Designers finally listening to usability guidelines, either intentionally or accidentally.

The oddest thing about the computer/IT industry is that it doesn’t maintain institutional knowledge or learn from the past.  When basic web-forms were decried as a throwback to the 3270 Mainframe model, you would think that the old Mainframe hands would be considered experts, but in an industry where 18-25 year olds can be productive, there is no interest in expertise.  As the mobile web becomes more and more important, usability may make the difference between success and failure.  The idea that I should go to my computer to check a map seems as ludicrous as the idea that I should use the phone book!

Why 140 Characters works for Twitter

A common exercise in demonstrating the human mind is give people a broad assignment, like “write something funny,” which isn’t something that most people can do without preparation.  A set of guidelines (like write a Limerick beginning with, “There once was a boy from Kentucky”) makes writing on the spot much easier.

Similarly, Twitter’s 140 Character Limitation actually makes the site more expressive.  I love the limitation inspired by SMS, which makes it a great “on the go” tool.  However, the internal language of Retweets (RT), Mentions (@), Hashtags (#category), plus URLs somewhat makes a mockery of the system.

I’ve expressed my issue with URL shortening, it “breaks” the web which at its core is linking to valuable resources.  The redirects have always made spidering the web harder, tracking links more difficult, and otherwise interfered with common usage of the Internet.  They create the risk of link rot, and in the case of Twitter, undermine the importance of link anchor text.

If I publish the name of my blog entries on my Twitter feed, they clearly should be clickable, but instead, a shortened URL will appear in the Twitter entry to conserve “characters.”  Given the ability to encode links within hypertext, it seems rather silly to “use characters” for the link, encouraging one to use a third party “shortening” service.

However, if in the middle of a Twitter discussion, I want to express a real idea, the “hypertext” approach would be to publish it to the web and link over, creating a permanent record in an accessible manner.  In our new Web 2.0 world, we use a service like TwitLonger, which essentially lets me upload a stream of text and make it available via Twitter.  I guess it’s the same thing, but now it’s floating out there on someone else’s system, someone who may or may not figure out how to make any revenue off this service.

Limitations can encourage creativity.  When I ran an SEO shop, I gave relatively strict requirements, which let me team mass produce content, while a broader range of action would have people simply staring at the screen.

Death of Search, Long Live Search

The growth of social media has Internet Marketers wondering if these new areas of interest mean the end of search as the heart of an Internet Marketing campaign.  I have always resented the tag SEO for my ideas on the Internet, because the concept of gaming the search engines has been dead for over 5 years now.  The growth of link based engines, starting with Google made gaming the engines less useful than a simple coherent strategy.  By building content with the user’s needs in mind, you were naturally doing SEO with good links, clear text, and simple content rich sites.

The emergence of social media as new avenues for traffic and links only add more aspects to your traffic strategies.  It is no longer “Google or Bust,” when you can generate traffic from Twitter or Facebook.

Good content, useful materials, clean HTML, and publishing your information into social media can all help you gain links to your website, or visitors that may leave comments and enhance your site.  Anyone on the Internet for more than 8 years remembers “surfing,” where you would click around from site to site exploring.  Pre dot-com, websites linked to each other, Google’s wars on spam may have discouraging linking for a number of years, but with the growth of social media, people are out exploring the Internet, and that helps publishers with good content find more traffic.