All About Politics: Reading the Voter Demos

Let’s take a look at the demographic segments that will matter most in the upcoming presidential election.

**African Americans**

A key component of any Hillary Clinton victory on November 8 is a big turnout of African American voters. They are 13 percent of the total electorate, but they have voted in stupendous numbers every four years for the Democratic nominee.

Going as far back as 1960, when JFK won the presidency, it was the enormous majorities that he racked up in the big cities in states with a large number of electoral votes (New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan) that clinched his victory.

Barack Obama’s African American vote in 2008 was 93 percent; in 2012, it was 91 percent. That, I’m quite sure, will never be equaled. Hillary Clinton will not get those numbers. But they want to make sure the dropoff in percentage and, most important, turnout is not too great.

**Uneducated White Voters**

At a gathering recently, a Cleveland Park resident said with pinpoint accuracy that Trump will win if he “gets every uneducated white person.” He did not say this with an elitist slant. No, he was being sophisticated and perceptive about the demographic group that is key to any Trump victory.

We will soon find out how many fit in this category. Among white men who are not college-educated, the polls show Trump with a lead of more than 20 points.

**Suburban Republican College-Educated Women**
This is a group that Mitt Romney won in 2012. This year, it looks quite different. Donald Trump’s persona and style turns off this group. It is not that they are so fond of Hillary Clinton, but everything Donald Trump is repels them in the most visceral way.

The suburban counties around Philadelphia that are economically secure are richly populated by this demographic. Polls show this group of voters abandoning their party label and going for Clinton. This “demo” votes, and in big percentages. I call them “The Great Offset.” They offset the numbers that Trump will get with white men.

Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the Democratic nominating contest because black women came out in huge numbers to vote for her. In the general election, white college-educated women who live in the voter-rich suburbs might very well be the group that delivers the presidency to her. In retelling their voting history, these women might say: “I never voted for a Democrat for president, except one in 2016. I voted for Hillary because Trump made me sick to my stomach.”

Next, let’s take a quick look at some other contests.

**Senate Races**

The U.S. Senate is controlled by the GOP. Dems feel they have “sure wins” in two states: Illinois, where they believe Tammy Duckworth will beat incumbent Mark Kirk; and Wisconsin, where former Senator Russ Feingold will beat incumbent Ron Johnson. This is a rematch of the 2010 race.

If Duckworth or Feingold loses, it will signal a bad night for the Dems. A possible upset in the making is in Missouri. Jason Kander, the young veteran of the Afghan War, is making Georgetown resident Sen. Roy Blunt very nervous. The Dems need only four pickups to take control of the Senate. If Clinton wins, Vice President Tim Kaine would cast the deciding vote when there’s a tie.

Watch how many seats the Dems pick up in the House. They need 30 to take over.

**ANC Races**

Have you noticed how slick and elegant the campaign posters are for the aspirants for D.C.’s advisory neighborhood commissions? They are a far cry from the mid-1980s, when I ran for the ANC.

*Political analyst and Georgetowner contributor Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a contributor to Reach him at*

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