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This is in response to three diaries written by ericf (one, two, and three) where he argues that Democrats have a white-voter problem and proposes how to fix that problem. But the problem does not exist. If anything, Democrats have an old-white-racist-evangelical problem, and that problem will fix itself as that demographic continues to die off.  More below.

We all know by now that Obama won 39% of the white vote to Romney's 59%. See CNN's vote results. Make sure you click on the "Exit Polls" tab and scroll down a bit to see results by race. And as that graphic shows, whites made up about 72% of all voters. But just to the right of that is a graphic for "Vote by Age and Race". There you can see that among white voters age 18-29 Obama got 44% of the vote; that among white voters age 39 to 64 he got 38%, and among white voters 65 and older he got 39%.

Next, take a look at this Wikipedia analysis of the dempgraphics. If you scroll down a bit you'll see the heading "White evangelical or born-again Christian?", President Obama got 21% of that vote and 60% of all other voters. Let me repeat, if you exclude white evangelical born again Christians, Obama goes from 51% of the total vote to 60% of the total vote!

So how did Obama do among white voters by state? Here a list of the white vote by state. In some states there was not enough exit polling data to show 2012 results so for those states this site used 2008 results.  Those results are marked by asterisks. The list goes from states where Romney got the highest white votes/Obama got the least white votes, to states where Obama got the most white votes/Romney got the least. Is it any surprise that Mississippi and Alabama top the list with Romney getting 89% and 84% of the white vote respectively? Obama hit 44% of the white vote with states like Colorado and Michigan; got around 50% of the white vote in states like New York, Connecticut, Iowa and New Hampshire; and substantially exceeded 50% in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

Finally, here is a map showing religious affiliation by state. Go to the drop-down list above the map and click on "Evangelical Protestant Tradition". The states in black and dark blue have a high concentration of evangelicals, the states in light blue and grey have a low concentration. Although this map doesn't distinguish between white/non-white evangelicals, you can see a high correlation between the states with a high percentage of protestant evangelicals and states where Obama won less than 40% of the white vote.

So, does the Democratic party have a problem with white voters? No. It has a problem with old, white, racist evangelical voters. It may seem to some that my inclusion of "racist" in defining this demographic is gratuitous. Maybe my northern liberal bias is showing. But I would assert that white evangelicals make up a large chunk of the Tea Party movement, a large chunk of the Birther movement, and a large chunk of Fox News viewers. And I would assert that racism plays a huge roll in their participation in those groups. I would assert that Obama and the Democratic party generally have done poorly with older white evangelicals because racism is a defining characteristic of that demographic. I'd be happy to see someone prove me wrong.

The reality is that this "problem" is not in fact a problem for Democrats. This demographic is dying out. Even young white evangelicals aren't voting the same way as their parents and grandparents. And this dying demographic is being replaced by Hispanics and blacks - two demographics that are growing substantially and that strongly support the Democratic party. The reality is that this isn't a Democratic problem, this is a Republican problem. The Republican base is dying. Democrats do not need to chase them. Democrats need to keep being an inclusive party. Yes, we need a state-by-state strategy to regain statehouses and state legislatures, but that doesn't mean we need to focus on the white vote. We need to keep being a party that attracts voters of all races and backgrounds.

EDIT: Some comments have asked about the state of Christian Evangelicals in the U.S.; are they growing? are they shrinking? I found this very interesting article written by an evangelical Christian indicating that the movement is dying, both in numbers and influence. Enjoy!

Originally posted to tonymil on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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