Dems' Edge With Minorities Falls

Dems' Edge With Minorities Falls

By Sean Trende - July 31, 2010

One of the foundational beliefs of the Emerging Democratic Majority (EDM) thesis (of which I am extremely skeptical, as I am of realignment theory in general) is that the GOP's level of support among minorities in the 2004 election was a fluke. That year, African Americans voted for the Democratic candidate 89-10, while Hispanics voted Democrat by a 55-44 margin. EDM theorists tend to believe that the natural level of GOP support among minorities is more like it was in 2008, when Democrats carried African Americans 93-5 and Hispanics 68-29. With this level of Democratic support from minorities, Republicans are forced to win upwards of 60 percent of the white vote in order to control Congress, which is a difficult task.

The latest polls suggest that the 2004 levels of support for Democratic candidates weren't completely flukish. In its latest generic ballot, PPP finds that Hispanics favor the Democratic candidate 58-21, while African Americans break 83-8. Quinnipiac finds a 83-3 split among blacks and a 55-27 split among Hispanics.

While those numbers are consistent with either 2004- or 2008-like numbers, depending which Party you are looking at, the CNN poll seems to have pressed undecideds a little harder. The levels of Democratic support stay at their 2004 levels, while the level of GOP support climbs to 2004 levels: African Americans favor the Democratic candidate at a 82-14 clip, while Hispanics break 54-39 Democratic. Note that all of the variance here is in degree of support for the Republican candidate; the support for the Democratic candidate stays steady.

In the end, it is hardly inconceivable that the GOP could get 60 percent of the white vote this election, but if this level of support among minority groups continues, it won't need to reach that level with whites in order to win control of Congress.

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

Latest On Twitter