A new Reuters Poll has some good news for Democrats:
Ten months before the United States elects a new president, the Republican Party has yet to resolve a problem that its leaders said contributed to Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to Barack Obama: a lack of support among Hispanic and younger voters.
The percentage of Republicans among those likely to vote in the Nov. 8, 2016, election lags Democrats by 9 percentage points, compared with a 6-point deficit in the year leading up to Obama’s 2012 victory, according to an analysis of Reuters/Ipsos polling data from 2012 and 2015.
While the American electorate has become more diverse the last three years, the party’s support among Hispanic likely voters and younger likely voters has shrunk significantly.
Polling data on likely voters who identify as members of a particular political party are considered valuable indicators of election outcomes. In 2012, 93 percent of voters who identified as members of a particular party cast a ballot for that party’s presidential candidate, a Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll found.
The numbers suggest the Republican field, led by billionaire businessman Donald Trump, faces strong headwinds against the Democrats, led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
"Good candidates running good campaigns can overcome partisan disadvantages,” Republican pollster and strategist Neil Newhouse said. “The party faced these same challenges in 2012 and is still facing those challenges, and it is potentially more significant.”
An analysis of the Reuters/Ipsos polling data found:
- In 2012, Democrats made up 44.7 percent of party-affiliated likely voters, compared to 39.1 percent Republicans, a difference of about 6 percentage points, according to the analysis of 87,778 likely presidential voters polled leading up to the 2012 presidential election. The results have a credibility interval of plus or minus 0.3 percentage points.
- Three years later, that lead had grown to nine points, 45.9 percent to 36.9 percent, according to the analysis of 93,181 likely presidential voters polled in 2015. The results in 2015 have the same credibility interval as 2012.
- Among Hispanics who are likely presidential voters, the percentage affiliated with the Republican Party has slipped nearly five points, from 30.6 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, Hispanic Democrats grew by six percentage points to 59.6 percent.
- Among whites under 40, the shift is even more dramatic. In 2012, they were more likely to identify with the Republican Party by about 5 percentage points. In 2015, the advantage flipped: Young whites are now more likely to identify with the Democratic Party by about 8 percentage points.
- Meanwhile, black likely voters remain overwhelmingly Democratic, at about 80 percent. . .
Aging baby boomers likely to vote in a presidential election remain strongly Republican, up slightly to 47.7 percent of voters polled in 2015. The share of that group who identify as Democrats slipped nearly two points to 35.4 percent in 2015.