Magazine article Politics Magazine

Equinox Voters Put New Areas in Play

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Equinox Voters Put New Areas in Play

Article excerpt

We at Zogby International are always looking for new ways to understand the American voter, and what we have found is that the old political paradigms just don't work today. For instance, we're thinking that the Red State vs. Blue State phenomenon may pass into history this year, with so many states being in play.

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We've said right along that, instead, this is a year to watch the swing voter and the centrist voter, who are back after a hiatus. There is evidence that they are going to play a big role in November, but who are these people? Have they changed much over the last decade?

There has been lots of talk about white working-class voters. They gave Hillary Clinton her wins over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. These are the former Reagan Democrats who had supported Bill Clinton but who have since climbed up onto the political fence to sit for a spell.

Can Obama win this group in November? Well, he didn't this spring, so that's our first clue. Another is the fact that neither Al Gore nor John Kerry won this group's support. It is a safe guess to say Obama would be in the same situation. So he must find voters elsewhere.

But can he find enough voters to make up for the loss of that voter bloc? Perhaps. This year we are looking at increased turnout among minorities and younger voters.

We're also working to identify the hallmarks of two new kinds of voters. We call them the Equinox Voters, because they fall into two distinct groups: the "Spring-Aheads" and the "Fall-Backers."

The Spring-Aheads are the economic winners in America today, who largely reside in regions that have turned themselves around. They are the reason that southern New Hampshire, central and southwestern North Carolina, southern Florida, Colorado, parts of New Mexico--even growing parts of Wyoming and Montana--may be considered in play this election cycle. These are areas growing in diversity and in the population of the "creative class." And, for the Democrats, these areas are the antidote to other areas mired in economic decline.

Those are the areas populated by many Fall-Backers, who have suffered from changes in the U. …

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