The mid-term elections of 2018 have radically changed the balance of power in the House of Representatives, from Republican control to democratic control. Many expected this, given President Trump's relatively low approval. Historically, this meant that the president's party would lose many races in the House. The pre-election elections largely confirmed the likely takeover by the Democrats.
But here's what we did not know yet: what groups supported the Democrats in this election? How do these models compare to previous elections?
Below you can see five graphs that help explain what happened. For the most part, these diagrams are based on data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), a large-scale academic survey conducted each year since 2008. For the CCES 2018 analysis, we used pre-interviews. Electors with weighted respondents are nationally representative of the adult population. We then applied a likely voter model trained on previous election cycles to create estimates for the 2018 electorate.
1. How did different age groups vote?
First, let's look at the voting patterns among the different age groups in the House races over the past ten years. While this year, all age groups voted more democrat than in 2016, the under 50s have changed more. In particular, voters aged 18 to 29 have chosen Democratic candidates compared to Republican candidates by a margin of 2 to 1 in 2018. And although we will not know for a while, there are indications that They could have made up a larger share of the electorate than in the typical mid-term elections – or, in other words, that the youth voted in particularly high numbers.
2. How did commuters vote?
Suburban districts have been among the hardest battlegrounds in this campaign. The CCES data shows that Democrats have done well in these districts. The chart below shows the vote in the House of Suburban Residents, broken down by US region. Suburban voters largely supported Democratic House candidates against Republican candidates, except in the South, where the number of parties was equal.
3. As expected, women and men voted very differently
Another motive Everyone was watching the gender gap – which, as the next graph shows, was the most important we have seen in at least a decade. Nearly 60% of women who voted for one of the two largest parties voted for Democratic candidates, but only 47% of men did so. It's a gender gap of 13 points.
4. Describe women and men by race and education
But of course, women and men are incredibly large groups, made up of all American demographic groups. So what subgroups of women and men were the furthest apart? The following chart shows the share of both parties' votes among white voters (since voters of color were predominantly among Democratic candidates, regardless of gender), by sex and level of education.
As you can see, white women with no university degree made modest moves to Democrats, even more than white men without a university degree. But a much larger proportion of white university-educated women have tipped in favor of Democrats, even beyond their previous support for Democratic candidates in previous elections. How much do they swing? In 2018, white university graduates increased their support for Democratic candidates by eight percentage points compared to 2016. In previous cycles, this group accounted for about 15% of the electorate; success in 2018.
5. Why have white women with a university education gone so far to the Democrats?
What explains the big change of white women graduating from college? The final painting comes from analysis that I conducted for Data for Progress. In this article, I compare the role of voters' opinions of women in this election to the one he played in 2018.
Among other factors, I examined what researchers call "hostile sexism," a set of antagonistic attitudes toward women that stem from the belief that women want control the men. Hostile sexism was a powerful predictor of support for Trump, but it did not affect voters' votes when they ran in the House in 2016. That changed in 2018.
The chart below shows how high levels of sexism are related to the Republican candidate's vote in 2018 and in 2016, taking into account other factors such as ideology, partisanship, racial attitudes and the demography. In 2016, a voter agreement or disagreement with sexist statements (which you can find on the x-axis) mattered little to know when he had voted for the Republican House candidate . In 2018, however, people who were more likely to disagree with sexist statements (ie, who had a less hostile sexism) were much less likely to vote Republican.
In essence, less sexist voters punished candidates for the House of Republicans in the House as they did in 2016. In addition, Republicans had no more sexist voters to make up for this loss.
All in all, these five tables suggest that Republicans may wish to fear being linked to a president whose rhetoric is often divisive and offensive. In doing so, young voters are kept away from historical rates, while hunt women (especially those with a university degree). If the Republican party brand becomes more and more synonymous with Trump, these trends could persist in 2020 and beyond.
Brian F. Schaffner (@b_schaffner) is a Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies at Tisch College and the Department of Political Science at Tufts University.