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New Report Explores the Future of Presidential Politics

Washington—A detailed analysis of voting patterns and demographic changes in the electorate identifies various paths to victory for the two major political parties, rendering the 2020 presidential election a toss-up. The findings are part of the States of Change project’s 2018 report, “America’s Electoral Future,” released today by a consortium of think tanks.

The report simulates a range of future presidential election outcomes as the nation grows more diverse over the next two decades. While demographics are not destiny, the general trend of demography presents potential electoral challenges for Republicans, the study finds, as Democratic-leaning groups grow as a share of the electorate and Republican-leaning groups shrink.

“The demographic changes taking place across the country will be one of the defining features of the 21st century—impacting everything from national politics to local community life,” said Dr. Robert Griffin, PRRI’s Associate Director of Research. “These changes are likely to create significant electoral headwinds for the Republican Party. Every presidential election is going to get a little harder to win as the population becomes more racially diverse and more educated.”

States of Change is a joint project of the Public Religion Research Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Brookings Institution, and the Center for American Progress. The scenarios examined in the report were constructed by breaking down the U.S. population into 32 demographic groups, based on information from the American Community Survey, and analyzing county-level estimates of turnout, party support, and voter population composition.

Access the full report.