The Growing Divide: Exploring Recent Political and Population Changes in the American Electorate Open Access

Fires, Michael William (2015)

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Political Science research has long examined the connection between migration and seemingly one-sided political change. While the bulk of this research has been conducted to analyze the impact of northern migrants on the southern electorate during the Republican realignment, limited research has been conducted to determine whether migration has played a role in recent changes in presidential elections. Since the Republican victory by just five electoral votes in the 2000 presidential election, the competitive presidential landscape has shifted decisively in favor of the Democratic Party. The Democratic victories in 2008 and 2012 have easily surpassed 100 electoral votes in each contest. Scholars disagree on the role that migration has played in this new presidential landscape. This study aims to both evaluate the role played by domestic migration in recent changes in presidential elections and resolve the differing views on domestic migration's political implications. The results demonstrate that recent domestic migration has not helped one party more than the other or consistently contributed to one-sided changes in the two-party presidential vote share. Moreover, increased polarization does not appear to strongly alter this conclusion.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Literature Review 4

Theory 15

Hypothese 18

Research Design 19

National Analysis 29

The Northeast Analysis 33

The South Analysis 38 

The Midwest Analysis 42

The Mountain Plains Analysis 45

The Pacific Coast Analysis 49

Polarization Analysis 52

Discussion and Conclusions 54

References 61

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