Friday, July 11, 2008

Swing states: Whiter, less Hispanic, Asian than decided states

++Addition++Pat Buchanan comments on what this should mean for John McCain, who seems intent on doing everything in his power to play to his own weaknesses and to Obama's strengths.


Continuing on the recurring theme of overselling Hispanic electoral importance, consider the demographic profiles of four groups of states, as laid out at CNN's election center site:

1) 'Swing' states considered too close to call where margins in '00 and '04 were less than 5%. These include CO, FL, IA, MI, MO, NV, NH, OH, and VA.

2) Competitive McCain-leaning states. They are AR, GA, IN, LA, MT, NM, NC, and WV.

3) Competitive Obama-leaning states. They are ME, MN, NJ, OR, PA, WA, and WI.

4) Electorally safe states that are effectively out of play for the '08 Presidential election. They are the other 26 states and DC.

Following is a table showing the population percentages by race/ethnicity for the four groups of states:

Lean McCain68.97.619.81.81.9
Lean Obama78.
Electorally safe59.620.

Or, shown dichotomously as states that are competitive and are uncompetitive heading towards November:


The major media narrative goes something like this: "Hispanics only comprise X% (virtually always overstated) of voters nationally, but they account for a larger percentage in several key swing states." One can be forgiven for thinking that means Hispanics are overrepresented in swing states and thus more electorally important than their national numbers alone suggest.

As the tables above show, however, that is not the case at all. Whites, casting nearly 80% of votes nationally, are an even more important force in states that are competitive. This inflated electoral influence comes at the expense of Hispanics and Asians, who are more heavily concentrated in states that have already been decided. Blacks are slightly more concentrated in competitive states than in uncompetitive ones.

Keep in mind that electoral votes don't mirror racial demographics. Whites, being older, wealthier, and more civically-minded than blacks and especially Hispanics, comprise a greater share of the vote in a state than their numbers alone would predict. Blacks vote slightly less than their numbers would suggest, and Hispanics much less so--slightly less than half of what their population numbers would suggest. So Hispanic votes are unlikely to comprise more than 5% of the total votes cast in the 'toss-up' swing states, and closer to 3-4% in the competitive states that lean toward either McCain or Obama.

Another thing to take note of is that more than half of the swing states' Hispanics are in Florida, where Central and South American illegal immigration across the US-Mexican border takes a backseat to Cuban issues among Hispanic voters. If Florida is removed, the Hispanic percentage in the swing states drops to 6.4%.

When you read or hear about the putative disproportionate importance of the Hispanic vote in the swing states, know that it is untrue.


John Savage said...

Great research!

I wonder if you could put this together and make it an article for VDare. Have you ever had anything published there before?

Audacious Epigone said...


Thanks. I've told Peter Brimelow he is welcome to anything he wants to pull from here and is welcome to publish anything from this site at VDare. I'm on the blogroll and have been referenced a few times by Steve and also James Fulford, one of the editors. So if they're interested, they may have at it.

BGC said...

As an outsider, it looks to me as if the Democrats are interested in the Hispanic vote mainly because it is their only constituency that is growing demographically - partly due to higher fertility but mainly by constant rapid infusion.

Analogously, the Republicans main growing constituency are the evangelical Christian (and Mormon) groups - who have higher than replacament fertility (especially the Mormons).

Pretty much all the other demograhic groups in the US are _rapidly_ declining in population, due to very low fertility rates.

This especially applies to Liberal, atheist, high IQ Democrat voters - whose fertility is so low that their population is probably declining to one quarter every generation (ie. average about 0.5 children due to the large numbers who have zero children - so the reduction each generation is to one quarter, one sixteenth, one sixtyfourth etc. This number comes from longitudinal studies of gifted children).

And (because of the strength of protectionist lobbying) these kind of people are not allowed to immigrate into the USA in any significant numbers (eg. large numbers of UK, Australasian and W. European doctors, computer scientists, and lawyers would emigrate to the USA if allowed.).

Of course, children don't always vote like their parents, but they usually do - and chidlren resemble their parents in terms of personality, which affects voting.

I presume that strategists within the main parties are well aware of the demographic groups likely to be their main supporters in the coming decades.

So, for Democrats, I would regard an interest in the Hispanic vote as a legitimate matter of strategic (long term) self-interest - albeit probably not a significant tactical interest (this year's election).


Off topic, I did some (literally) back of envelope calculations about the demographic trends in relative proportions of the current intellectual class (ie. the population with IQ above 120) compared with Mormons (which I assumed have a highish average IQ of 105).

Because the most intelligent Mormons have the largest families (maybe a fertility rate (TFR) of four?), there is a massive change in proportions of these groups over time.

Depending on assumptions, I made it that there will be a roughly equal percentage of Mormon intellectuals and non-Mormon descendents of the current intellectuals in 4-6 generations - this based purely on fertility differentials.

eg if there are now 16 percent of c 5 million (probably more) US Mormons with IQ above 120 then there are 800K Mormon intellectuals; and if this population doubles every 25 years (ignoring regression to the mean of 105): 0.8 million - 1.6 million - 3.2 million - 6.4. million...

By contrast, there are approximately 50 million mostly secular current US intellectuals (IQ above 120 - assuming US average IQ is a couple of points below UK norm of 100) declining to a quarter each generation: 50 million - c 12 million - c. 3 million - c 0.8 million etc...

(Although if Moromon conversions continue at their rate of the past 150 years - doubling numbers every 15-20 years - this would add very significantly to their growth. But this may not be sustainable.)

Anyway, whatever plausible-to-me assumptions that I used, it seemed 'inevitable' that Mormons are going to become a rapidly-growing and highly visible roportion of the US intellectual class over the medium term future.

Audacious Epigone said...


Do you have some suggested reading on Mormon IQ? Utah's NAEP test scores, which I used to estimate average IQ by state, show Utah to be 36th of 51 for whites only. It's my impression that Mormons are solidly middle class and middle of the road in terms of natural endowment, but make up for it by stressing hard work, industriousness, the raising and supporting of a family, abstention from drugs, alcohol, tatoos, and other underclass activities, etc.

Even with eugenic birthing patterns (presuming they continue), will Mormons be able to overcome regression towards the mean? Here's to hoping you're spot on.

Re: immigration, what do you think of the EB-5 visa program, which essentially lets prospective migrants buy there way into the US for a $1 million investment or $500k bad investment (I've blathered on it here)? Seems better to me than the H1-B program, which in turn is better than the H-2A and H-2B programs, which are simply disastrous.

Audacious Epigone said...

Here are the IQ estimates by state for whites only.

BGC said...

AE - I got Mormon IQ from:

Since I understand that Utah is only 50 percent Mormon, it may be that the non-Mormons average less than 100 IQ?

I am really just trying to provoke someone else to do a better job than me with these projections.

But with the rise of Mormonism, the USA has seen something _really_ extraordinary over the past 120 years, and their exponential growth - doubling every 15-20 years - has barely stumbled.

Plus of course they are exemplary citizens in most respects.

A Mormon-dominated future for the USA is one of the most long-term-viable of the plausible projections I can think of.

BTW - as you know, the size of regression towards the mean depends on the mean - and as natural selection proceeds in Mormons I would expect their average IQ to rise.

It is interesting to speculate what specific characteristics might be exhibited by Mormon genius (e.g. compared with say Ashkenazi genius). It would be different, I'm pretty sure - due to founder effects if nothing else.

Looking at the LDS church (which has virtually no religious professionals, yet is continually expanding in many directions), it may be an administrative kind of genius - which would certainly be useful for everyone else.

Justin Halter said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, bgc, but Mormonism is not growing that fast, if at all. They are a tiny part of the total population to begin with (less than 5M), so assuming them to be some kind of demographic savior for America does not hold water. The TFR for Utah (70% Mormon) is 2.57, high for American standards, but small really, even smaller than Mexicans in America. And they have a huge problem with religious apostasy, as many (at least 30%) of their children grow up to find Mormon mythology a bit less than convincing, and leave the faith. Sure they grew by leaps and bounds in the past, but so did everyone else in America. And they are concentrated in one state, a low population state at that. Their conversion rate is flat if not declining, domestically and internationally. Their main claim to fame is in sports, not intellectual achievement. I am not trying to be anti-Mormon here, they are a wonderful conservative people (I live in a Mormon city, btw, and have had extensive professional and personal interaction with them "in the wild" so to speak -- I could tell you tons about their dating and marriage practices, for example). But your analysis and projections are wildly off-base.