Monday, June 15, 2009

Interesting census projection analysis by Dr. Marty Wiseman

I just found a fascinating blog dubbed Mississippi: Census 2010. I now follow it every way possible and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the upcoming census and what it will mean for politics in Mississippi going forward.

Today, they've posted a piece from MSU's political guru (and father of Starkville mayor-elect Parker Wiseman) Dr. Marty Wiseman. Dr. Wiseman figures that, since the population of the Delta is down, and the populations of GOP stronghold counties like Rankin, DeSoto, and Madison have increased, that the MSGOP will benefit:

So, at this point, what do these numbers mean? First the lines are already being drawn in the battle of the respective parties to save seats for the partisan debates ahead. The Democrats by virtue of their majority position should have somewhat the upper hand, at least as far as the House is concerned. But the census numbers are clearly working against the Democrats on their home turf. The 44% population increase in DeSoto County makes it the 32nd fastest growing county in the nation, and in Mississippi that is seemingly a big gain for the Republicans. Thus, as things currently appear the numbers alone would portend a shift in several districts from Democratic leaning to Republican leaning.

The problem with Dr. Wiseman's idea is that population growth in historically GOP-leaning counties doesn't automatically equal more Republican voters in those counties. I don't have any numbers to support this, and perhaps Dr. Wiseman does, but from my personal observations, the areas of Rankin and Madison that were once havens for white flight (and thereby GOP voters) are now substantially more demographically complex.

There is one area where Dr. Wiseman is dead-on, however:

If the current philosophical battles over the budget are any indication, the war to come over the partisan makeup of the legislature for the decade of 2011 to 2021 will be one for the ages.



Anonymous said...

In at least the last 3 statewide elections Madison + Rankin have cancelled out Hinds and put net votes into the columns of GOP candidates. The city of Jackson is on track to lose at least another 12,200 in population (HindsCo will lose -3900) this decade which will make the effect even more pronounced. Wiseman's intuition is more likely the scenario that will play out than your own.

nmisscommenter said...

Wiseman is certainly right about DeSoto County.

Jim Craig said...

Matt, your basic concept is correct. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, wrote for TIME magazine this week that demographic change is altering the geography of what used to be considered GOP "strongholds." His essay is excellent reading.

Madison and Rankin County may be Republican country today, or even tomorrow, but watch for the libertarian attitudes of Generation Next to clash with the social conservatism of the Mississippi GOP. Also, don't be surprised if areas of Rankin and Madison County become home to Hispanics working in the poultry trade.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Jim. Get real. The Hispanic population in 2008 is pegged at 1.5% in Madison County and 1.9% in Rankin. You'll be dead and gone before they've got the numbers to even ever-so-slightly budge the needle.