Voting Demographics in California – Urban Cores Matter

There is a map going around titled Red wave that shows voting by land mass.

Map 1 below distorts the state’s physical geography by sizing the geographic groupings according to their relative share of the state’s population. This creates a more accurate view of Democratic voting in the state of California and shows the reality of that emphasizes the role of both the Bay Area and Los Angeles in forming the state’s Democratic reputation in driving the Democratic political power base.

Map 2 reviews Independents. Their numbers have doubled since 1992—from 10 to 20 percent of registered voters—potentially making them a powerful force in California politics that could potentially swing future election trends. Although they are often called “swing voters,” in reality most independents lean toward one party or the other and vote reliably that way. In general, the balance of these independents tilts at least slightly Democratic in almost every part of the state of California.

The balance of independents tilts more Democratic in places that also show a larger Democratic advantage. The most Democratic-inclined independents can be found in parts of the Bay Area and the north coast and in coastal and central Los Angeles—places where the proportion of Democratic leaners outnumbers the proportion of Republican leaners by 25 percent or more.

In contrast, the conservative southern Central Valley has about as many independents leaning Republican as leaning Democratic.

In summary independents are more likely to reinforce the state’s political status quo than to disturb it, although they also make the state more Democratic on election day than voter registration numbers might suggest.

So while I respect the efforts from my friends to the right, the present demographic mix of the population centers of the state lean heavily toward more progressive politics.

Map & Data Source Public Policy Institute of California

Chris Edwards Napa 2018

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