Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Ohio Is Not a Bellwether

Once upon a time, the preferences of Ohio's voters might have been predictive of election results. Not this time. Ohio's demographics differ from the nation's demographics in three important ways, disqualifying the state from being a predictor of the 2016 election outcome...

1. Less diverse: 79 percent of Ohio's population is non-Hispanic White, much greater than the 61 percent for the nation as a whole. Ohio is as diverse as the United States was way back in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected president. Only 3 percent of Ohio residents are Hispanic versus 18 percent nationally.

2. Less urban: 76 percent of Ohio's population lives in a metropolitan area, well below the 86 percent share nationally. Ohio is as metropolitan as the United States was in 1980, when the rural renaissance was in full swing and inner cities were actually struggling. Now nonmetro areas are losing population and cities are resurgent.

3. Less educated: Only 26 percent of Ohio residents aged 25 or older have a bachelor's degree, substantially lower than the 33 percent for the nation as a whole. Ohio is as educated as the U.S. population was in 2000, when George Bush was elected president. With education dividing voters more than ever, Ohio's lower level of education is yet another reason the state is not a bellwether this election year.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Census Bureau data

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