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Not your grandparents' political parties: How the makeup of Republican, Democratic voter bases have changed over decades




Five US Presidents pose for picture in front of the Reagan Library 04 November 1991 in Simi Valley, Ca. Never before have five American Presidents been together. From left, are Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.
Five US Presidents pose for picture in front of the Reagan Library 04 November 1991 in Simi Valley, Ca. Never before have five American Presidents been together. From left, are Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.
HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

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Voter makeups for both the Democratic and Republican parties are more different today than they ever have been in the past generation.

That’s the big takeaway from a new Pew Research Center study that analyzed more than 10,000 interviews from last year looking at party identification among registered voters. Among the major findings were that Democrats had changed in makeup more than Republicans in the last generation.

Today, Democrats are less-white, more liberal, younger than in the past generation, and have seen big upticks in the number of college grads and women who identify with their party. Democrats have also become more liberal in the past generation. 10 years ago, 44 percent of Democrats identified their views as “moderate,” and that was the largest group of them. Currently, the largest group is 46 percent who say their views are “liberal” to 37 percent who say their views are “moderate.”

By contrast, Pew found, Republicans are still largely white, Christian, and less likely today than a decade ago  to be college-educated. Republicans also still largely identify as conservative, with two thirds of those surveyed describing their views as such to just 27 percent who say they’re “moderate,” and they also have an advantage in the number of white voters without a college degree, the demographic making up the largest group in the electorate.

What do you make of the results of this survey? Do you see these changes reflected in your own personal circles? How do you think the voter bases of each party will continue to change over time?

Guests:

Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew Research Center

Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush

John Iadarola, host of ThinkTank, part of The Young Turks Network; he also serves as a weekly co-host for The Young Turks weekly live show; he tweets @johniadarola