Lone Star Swingin’?


As I was beginning to follow-up my recent post about our changing national demographics, I almost immediately came upon a state-run website that was rich with data about that particular state. As it happens, it was Texas. So, without further ado, a very quick look at the Lone Star state and its population projections.

You can read lots of stories on the internet about how Texas may be headed toward “swing state” status.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle:

WASHINGTON – In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s re-election victory – fueled by massive turnout among Latinos, African-Americans and other minorities – Texas Democrats began to dream that the nation’s demographic tidal wave would eventually hit Texas.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro predicted that the reliably “red” Lone Star State is well on its way to “purple” swing state status.

None of the stories I reviewed provided hard data (i.e. what we here at The Big Picture are all about). Having found the Texas State Data Center, it took only a matter of minutes to whip up election year demographics for the state. That table is below:

(Click through for larger)

(Note: The “Total Pop” column is the sum of the other columns displayed and represents the age criteria selected (18-85, which includes those over 85); it is not the total population of the state.)

Here’s the same data looked at a bit differently:

Of course, it is impossible to know how many voting-age residents of any state will register to vote and, beyond that, actually exercise their right to do so (I’m open to suggestions as to how I should model that as I continue to collect data). That said, the table above is remarkable for the change it portends. Look at the explosion of the Hispanic population, the growth of the Black population, and the virtual stagnancy of the Anglo population. It seems conceivable to me that, under the right set of circumstances, Texas could be “in play” by the year 2020. Unless, of course, it secedes, in which case its 38 electoral votes will be lost to Republicans in 2016.

I’ll continue to update periodically as I make my way around the country.

Special thanks to Dr. Glenn Lawyer at the Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik for the ongoing discussion about demographics and the offer of assistance and collaboration on some future posts. Most appreciated, and happy to have you aboard.

Additional, fascinating reading:

Bruce Bartlett, Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

Robert Shrum, GOP Faces Years in the Wilderness

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