White men gave Republicans their big midterm victory

The demographic breaks big for Republican candidates, while the Democratic coalition frays

Published November 6, 2014 5:53PM (EST)

Mitch McConnell                                       (Jeffrey Malet, maletphoto.com)
Mitch McConnell (Jeffrey Malet, maletphoto.com)

Republicans can thank white men for their resounding rout of the Democrats on Tuesday.

The demographic broke heavily for the GOP, in a year when white males accounted for a hefty portion of the voter pool. The political blog First Read notes that white males represented 37 percent of this year’s electorate, compared with 34 percent in 2012. They also supported Republicans at a higher rate than they voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney two years ago. Romney won white men 62 to 35 percent, while the group voted Republican by 64 to 33 percent this year.

Democrats lost this year largely because their core supporters turn out at lower rates in midterms than they do in presidential years. Eighteen- to 29-year-olds – 19 percent of the 2012 electorate – were just 13 percent of this year’s electorate. Those who did show up were more likely than the 2012 crop of young voters to support Republicans; while the group voted for Obama by a 60 to 37 percent margin in 2012, they voted Democratic by a more modest 54 to 43 percent margin this year.

African-Americans and Latinos turned out at slightly lower rates, as well. African-Americans accounted for 13 percent of voters in 2012, just a bit more than the 12 percent share they represented this year. Latinos – 10 percent of the electorate in 2012 – were just 8 percent of the electorate this year. Both groups also voted Democratic by smaller margins. Black voters supported Obama 93 to 7 percent two years ago; they voted Democratic 89 to 10 percent this year. Latinos, meanwhile, supported Obama over Romney by 71 to 27 percent. The GOP improved on that performance this year, garnering 35 percent support among Latinos to the Democrats’ 63 percent.

In key states where Democrats hope that a burgeoning Latino population will eventually swing things their way, Latino voters supported the party at even lower rates. Georgia's Michelle Nunn won only 57 percent of Latinos to GOP Sen.-elect David Perdue's 42 percent, while in Texas, Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott won 44 percent of Latinos against Democrat Wendy Davis' 55 percent. Those numbers underscore that for Democrats, demographics are not necessarily destiny.

By Luke Brinker

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