Romney's religious coalition should spook the GOP even more than I thought


A couple of weeks ago I called attention to a striking graphic from the Public Religion Research Institute that compared the religious layout of the Obama and Romney coalitions with the religious layout of the electorate by age cohort. Short version: Obama's (i.e. Dems) looks like the electorate of the future; Romney's (i.e. GOP's), like the electorate of the past.

But that, it turns out, was based on pre-election survey data. Now PRRI has a similar graphic up with post-election data. And let's just say that the news for the Republicans is even worse. 

For example, pre-election, evangelicals made up 37 percent of the Romney coalition. In the actual vote, it was 40 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of Nones slipped from eight percent to seven. On the flip side, the proportion of Nones in the Obama coalition bumped up two points to 25 per cent, even as the proportion of Nones in the 18-29 voting cohort jumped from 32 percent to 35 percent. 

Nothing is more stunning, however, than the Catholic youth vote. Pre-election, PRRI found found roughly equal proportions of young Hispanic and young non-Hispanic Catholics: 10 percent of the former versus eight percent of the latter. Post-election, it was 11 percent Hispanic Catholics and just five percent non-Hispanics. By comparison, among Catholic voters over the age of 30, there's less than one Hispanic for every four non-HIspanics.

The Obama coalition was 10 percent Hispanic Catholics of all ages versus 13 percent non-Hispanics. The Romney coalition was 2 percent Hispanic Catholics versus 18 percent non-Hispanics. 

Think of it this way: Not only did the vast majority of Hispanic Catholics vote Democratic but also, the rising generation of Catholic voters is twice as Hispanic as it is non-Hispanic. Bottom line: The GOP's demographic problem is as much with Catholics as it is with Hispanics.