Inside New PPIC Data: Why CA GOP Is Collapsing
The latest tabulations from the Public Policy Institute of California demonstrate the enormous challenges facing the California Republican Party. The problem is not just that the share of Republicans has declined to 29% from 35% over the last decade, while the proportion of Democrats has remained the same (44%) and the percentage of “independents” has grown to 21% (up from 15%).
Nor is there comfort for the GOP in PPIC’s calculation that among those most likely to vote, 45% are Democrats, 32% are Republicans and 19% are independents – especially when those independents lean toward the Democrats 4-3 as compared to Republicans.
PPIC has spelled all this out, and more, in two handy publications you can find here and here.
For example, here’s a PPIC nugget worth knowing:
Although 44% of the state’s adult population is non-Hispanic white and 33% is Latino, our surveys indicate that 62% of those most likely to vote are white and only 17% are Latino. Asians and blacks comprise a smaller share of both the state’s adult population (14% Asian, 6% black) and likely voters (11% Asian, 7% black). Among Democrats, 49% of likely voters are white, 25% are Latino, 12% are Asian, and 12% are black. An overwhelming majority of Republicans are white (81%); 9% are Latino, 7% are Asian, and 1% are black. Among independents, 58% are white, 15% are Latino, 17% are Asian, and 5% are black.
Independent likely voters are more likely to be men (55%) than women (45%), while Democrats are more likely to be women (57%) than men (43%). Republican likely voters are more evenly split (52% men, 48% women).
There’s lots more in the PPIC tabulations.
The more you dig, the worse it gets
Calbuzz had another question and PPIC graciously ran the crosstabs to answer it for us: Of the likely voter population, what percentage of men and women, whites, Latinos, Asians and blacks are Democrats, Republicans and independents?
This is the question that underscores the huge problem facing the California GOP.
Turns out that men who are likely to vote are fairly closely divided: 39% are Democrats, 34% are Republicans and 21% are independents. But among women, it’s not even close: 50% are Democrats, 30% are Republicans and 16% are independents.
And since party identification is the most reliable predictor of a person’s vote . . . well, you get the point.
Worse, if you look at California’s racial and ethnic strata, the GOP’s problem is compounded. Among whites, 42% are Republicans, 36% Democrats and 17% independents. That’s the good news for the GOP (except for the declining proportion of whites in California and the tendency of independents to lean Democrat).
But among Asian likely voters, 49% are Democrats, 28% are independents and 21% are Republicans. Of course, among blacks, 79% are Democrats, 14% and independents and a paltry 5% are Republicans.
The real worry for the GOP, however, is that among Latino likely voters, 65% are Democrats, 17% are Republicans and 16% are independents. This is the fastest-growing cohort in the voting population and a group among whom the California Republican party – 70% of whose members consider themselves conservative – has no chance of reaching as long as it stands against a pathway to citizenship.
If half the women and more than six in 10 Latinos say they’re Democrats, what is the GOP in California to do?
As Calbuzz has argued here and here (and plenty of other places as well), it’s time for the California Republican Party to make some serious changes. What they’re doing is further marginalizing themselves.
At this rate, won’t be long before Republicans are outnumbered by “independents.”
And, of course, the national implications are enormous. California has always been a trend-setter, including politically. The national GOP must be looking at our state numbers and quaking.
Hank, which Republican party are you talking about? It seems to be divided into two (some say three) factions that cannot agree on much of anything. One group (the mainstream elites of the party) would agree with your statement and are truly scared for the future. The other faction the tea party seems to think that there is a group of disaffected conservative voters will carry the party to victory, if the candidate is conservative for their liking. This theory has been disproved in California, for the past twenty years. So I guess you are right the implications are enormous, however the conservative nature of the way our national government is set-up stops the exact same course of events from happening (see Wyoming having 700,00 people & 2 senators and California having 38 million and 2 senators). Should be interesting the next 10 years of politics. Like a wounded animal the Republican party will fight harder and bend the rules even more than usual (see voter roll purges in the southern states, plus decreased voting times and locations in the same location).
Doomsayers and fear mongers about Republicans be gone.
Look at history. Republicans are the only effective alternative to the governing Democrats. So, when the D’s screw up government too much the people will choose the Republican alternative. I know the left does not want to believe this natural political phenomena so let me offer real proof for my point. The elections as governors during the last decade of Republican Mitt Romney in super-Demo Massachusetts and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in heavily Demo California should help you return to reality.
Of course, in the more conservative areas of the country, that is not the Far West or New England, Republicans rule as evidence by the overwhelming majority of governors being Republican.
So CalBuzz and Hank Plante, do not put us, Republicans, on the scrapheap of history just yet.
Ernie Konnyu (R-San Jose), Former Member, U.S. Congress
“Former member” sort of says it all, eh Ernie? Just ribbin’ ya.
Ernie, the example of Schwarzenegger shows the real problem for Republicans in California. It’s generally understood that the only way he could have been elected was through the recall. Any Republican who is moderate enough to win a statewide election is not conservative enough to win the primary.
Ernie, you make two valid points in pointing to Romney and Schwarzenegger. But neither one would be elected governor today. So let’s indeed “return to reality.”
Here’s reality: Chris Christie is the Republican governor with the most appeal across the board. He would have a tough time getting the nomination, however, because the knuckle-dragging Republican “base” wouldn’t allow it, and they pretty much command what goes on in the party. As for Ted Cruz, Rubio, Rand Paul — one of them may very well gain the nomination, but as things stand now, they would then go on to a national defeat worse than Romney’s. That’s reality. I know history tells us that there is a pendulum in national politics, as you point out. But I think this time we’re seeing a trend in demographics — not just in California — that is simply not favorable, maybe even fatal, to Republicans in national elections.
And yes, Republicans have done very well in winning governorships in the South and parts of the Midwest. But no Democrat is going to win the governorship in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, or South Carolina. Throw in Missouri and Indiana most of the time, and you’re on your way to winning a good many Republican governorships. Education, you know, hasn’t penetrated all sections of the United States.
But Ernie, won’t your pendulum swing back to the Dems in lots of other states now held by Republicans?
“Look at history. Republicans are the only effective alternative to the governing Democrats.”
Replace “Republicans” with, say, “Whigs.” That statement was 100% true in 1840… not so much just 20 years later. Like it says on your stock prospectus, “past performance is not a guarantee of future results.” Now if you were to replace party identification with political inclination, that would obviously ring true. But to assume that the GOP has a lock on the conservative vote solely because it’s “the only effective alternative” is to ignore history, not learn from it.
It appears that the current iteration of the GOP is headed for an existential crisis; and sadly, many of the loudest voices in the GOP seem hell-bent on ideological purity rather than mass appeal. A recipe for Phyrric victory if ever there was one. Our political system is structured as a zero-sum game; a loss for one side translates directly to a gain for the opposition.
“What shall it benefit a party to gain its soul, but lose the whole world?”