Red states may be turning more blue since pandemic start – here’s why
(NEXSTAR) — Some of America’s red and swing states (purple) may have gotten less Republican during the pandemic. That’s according to 2020-21 U.S. Census data cited by real estate outlet Redfin in a recent report.
The main reason is increasing diversity in areas that are typically whiter, Redfin reports. The data shows that more people moved into red and purple (“swing”) counties in key states last year than in any year in a decade. Redfin explains “key” states are “states in which either candidate has a shot at winning in the upcoming Senate elections.”
Census statistics show white voters are historically more likely to vote Republican than Black, Latino and Asian voters — though some data suggests increasing support for the GOP among minority groups, especially Latino voters.
Key states with a less white electorate are now, according to Redfin: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In these states, red counties gained about 340,000 residents, while purple counties gained around 271,000 new residents last year. Redfin says the trend is also being seen in many non-key states and counties, too.
“These changes in racial makeup are small but noteworthy,” said Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr. “The pandemic-driven wave of relocation to suburbs and rural areas–which tend to lean more conservative than city centers–made those toss-up places more diverse. The demographic shift isn’t big enough to turn solidly red places blue, but it could move the needle in purple areas.”
Overall, Redfin says red and purple counties are 1 percentage point less white than they were pre-pandemic. Redfin’s Marr notes that despite the migration, more diverse red/purple states won’t necessarily equate a win for Democrats in 2022 — noting that people are more likely to move near people ideologically like them, in addition to studies indicating those who recently moved are less likely to vote that same year.
How Democratic are Latinos?
Pew Research Center data collected in August 2022 from 3,029 Hispanic adults still showed strong Democratic ties: 63% of Latinos said the Democratic party “really cares about Latinos,” while only 34% said the same about the Republican party. The split was about the same — 60%-34% — when Latinos were asked which party they feel represents “the interests of people like you.”
Additionally, over half (53%) of Latino registered voters told Pew they would or are leaning toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their congressional districts, as opposed to 28% who said they’re favoring or voting for the GOP candidate.
One interesting note on the 2022 midterms from Pew, however: More Republican-identified Latino voters (43%) say they have given “a lot of thought” to the midterms. Only 25% of Latino Democratic voters and 28% of Independent Latino voters said they had done the same.
Meanwhile, a September NBC News/Telemundo poll of 1,000 Latino registered voters found a 20-point lead by Latino Democrats over Latino Republicans.
Hart Research Associates pollster Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, who co-conducted the poll, told NBC News that while Latinos remain Democratic-leaning, “Republicans have a higher share of the vote than we’ve measured previously.”
How Democratic are Black voters?
Pew’s August research showed even stronger ties to the Democratic party for Black voters.
Seventy percent of Black registered voters said they would or are leaning toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their congressional districts. Only 6% said they were leaning toward the Republican candidate.