Elections are a measure of public opinion. And in part, the opinions of the people who make up the electorate are influenced by their background.
Political scientists and campaign consultants can use factors like a person’s age, race, educational attainment and income level to predict how that person will vote. But demographics can be fallible. Particular people often buck their demographic trends.
To get a better understanding of the ways demographic data influence elections in Washington state, KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco spoke with Ben Anderstone. He works as a consultant with Progressive Strategies NW, and he’s a contributor to Crosscut.
Anderstone says the state’s population is changing. People are moving here from elsewhere in the country. And within Washignton, other people are moving from costly cities to lower-priced exurbs. Overall, educational attainment is increasing.
Anderstone talks about several Congressional races and how campaigns decide which voters to spend resources trying to motivate.
“The most effective thing is always actual people having actual organic conversations with actual voters," he said. "And a lot of the demographic work we do behind the scenes is to figure out which voters to talk to.”