'Much Deeper Than Anticipated': Falling Support Among Minority Voters Could Spell Doom for Democrats

Analysis: GOP could benefit from 'racial realignment' as non-white conservatives realize 'they've been voting for the wrong party'

(Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons)
March 12, 2024

The Democratic Party's falling support among non-white voters is a "much deeper" problem than many of its supporters realize or are willing to admit, according to a recent analysis.

The ongoing "racial realignment" in American politics is "one of the most important social trends in the US today, and one of the most poorly understood," wrote John Burn-Murdoch of the Financial Times, who analyzed political polling data to explain why current trends among minority voters are "bad news for Democrats."

According to the numbers, the Democratic Party's historical advantage with non-white voters has declined significantly in recent years. A New York Times poll published earlier this month found that President Joe Biden led presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump by just 12 percentage points among non-white voters, a group he won by nearly 50 percentage points in 2020.

One reason for the shift is that Democrats have become the party of the rich. They represent the policy views of Ivy League-educated professionals who use terms such as "Latinx" and "people of color," as opposed to the views of working-class voters who happen to be black or Latino. These voters tend to be far more conservative politically but have supported Democrats in the past based on social pressures that are rapidly eroding, Burn-Murdoch argued.

In 2012, for example, roughly 80 percent of black voters who described themselves as "conservative" also identified as Democrats. That number is closer to 40 percent in 2024. Latinos and Asians who identify as conservative have also shifted away from the Democratic Party in recent election cycles as their votes become more aligned with their policy preferences.

"The migration we’re seeing today is not so much natural Democrats becoming disillusioned but natural Republicans realising [sic] they’ve been voting for the wrong party," Burn-Murdoch wrote.

This is why the demographic shift could become a much bigger problem for Democrats. The party's high rate of support among non-white conservatives was an "anomaly" that is finally in the process of reversing, Burn-Murdoch argues. And it's finally happening in part because America is becoming more diverse and less racially segregated. Black and Latino conservatives with more diverse social groups are less likely to support Democrats, according to the author's analysis.

Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini has argued that these shifts in voting patterns may create a "preference cascade" that increasingly erodes, for example, the social stigma among non-white voters of supporting Republicans. Therefore it is entirely plausible that the significant demographic shifts observed in recent polling data are a genuine reflection of voter preference, as opposed to a statistical anomaly or erroneous methodology.

Burn-Murdoch's analysis suggests that Republicans are well positioned, though certainly not guaranteed, to boost their support among non-white voters at the expense of an increasingly elitist Democratic Party that has taken their votes for granted.