WASHINGTON – While atheists, young people and minorities are still attracted to the Democratic Party in big numbers, three other groups are moving in big numbers to the Republican side, according to a New Pew Research Center poll.
Those three groups are whites, Christians and older voters.
The result of this continuing shift is that the percentages of Democrat-leaning voters and Republican-leaning voters remain almost exactly the same as in 2012 – 48 percent for Dems and 44 percent for the GOPers.
Another result, according to the poll, is that the demographic profiles look more different than any time in the last 25 years.
According to the Pew analysis: “Non-Hispanic whites make up 57 percent of all Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, down significantly from 76 percent in 1992. By contrast, though the share of GOP voters who are white also has declined since 1992, the change has been much more modest: Currently, 86 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are non-Hispanic whites, compared with 93 percent in 1992. As a result of these changes, the 17-percentage-point gap between the share of white voters in the Republican and Democratic parties seen in 1992 has grown to a 29-point gap today.”
“Overall, non-Hispanic whites now make 70 percent of all registered voters, down from 84 percent in 1992,” Pew reported. “The share of Hispanic voters has nearly doubled over this period: From 5 percent in 1992 to 9 percent today. The share describing their race as mixed race or ‘other’ also has grown from 1 percent to 5 percent. Since 1992, the share of all voters who are black has edged up slightly from 10 percent to 12 percent.”
The share of registered voters who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has increased from 8 percent in 1996 to 21 percent today, according to the survey. In 1996, just 10 percent of Democratic Party voters were religiously unaffiliated; today, that share has nearly tripled to 29 percent. Among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, the share not affiliating with a religion has increased from 6 percent to 12 percent over the past two decades.