Trends

A Great Migration Is Set to Transform Florida

New York Times: “More than 168,000 people have flown or sailed out of Puerto Rico to Florida since the hurricane, landing at airports in Orlando, Miami and Tampa, and the port in Fort Lauderdale. Nearly half are arriving in Orlando, where they are tapping their networks of family and friends. An additional 100,000 are booked on flights to Orlando through Dec. 31…  Large numbers are also settling in the Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas.”

“With so many arriving so abruptly, the migration is expected to transform Orlando, a city that has already become a stronghold of Puerto Ricans, many of them fleeing the island’s economic crisis in recent years. The Puerto Rican population of Florida has exploded from 479,000 in 2000 to well over one million today, according to the Pew Research Center. The number of Puerto Ricans in Orlando was 210,000 in 2014… and since then the count has risen rapidly as more arrived during the economic crisis.”

“The impact of this latest wave is likely to stretch from schools and housing to the work force and even politics. Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens and tilt Democratic, could sway the electoral results of one of the country’s most pivotal swing states.”

Americans Are Officially Freaking Out

Bloomberg: “Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63%, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey… The ‘current social divisiveness’ in America was reported by 59% of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise.”

“A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59%, said ‘they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.’ That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.”

Big Majority Say Politics Has Hit New Low Point

A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds 71% of Americans say the nation’s politics have reached a dangerous low point, and a majority of those believe the situation is a “new normal” rather than temporary.

“The poll finds that 7 in 10 Americans view the Trump administration as dysfunctional. But dissatisfaction extends well beyond the executive branch: Even more Americans, 8 in 10, say Congress is dysfunctional, and there is limited trust in other institutions, including the media.”

What If There’s No Middle?

Molly Ball follows members of Third Way, a center-left think tank, on a postelection listening tour:

The trip was predicated on the optimistic notion that if Americans would only listen to each other, they would find more that united than divided them. This notion—the idea that, beyond our polarized politics, lies a middle, or third, path on which most can come together in agreement—is Third Way’s raison d’être. It is premised on the idea that partisanship is bad, consensus is good, and that most Americans would like to meet in the middle.

But these are not uncontested assumptions. And, three days into their safari in flyover country, the researchers were hearing some things that disturbed them greatly—sentiments that threatened their beliefs to the very core.

Partisan Divides Over Political Values Widen

“Across 10 measures that Pew Research Center has tracked on t he same surveys since 1994, the average partisan gap has increased from 15 percentage points to 36 points.”

“Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only somewhat wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment and about as wide as the differences between blacks and whites (14 points, on average). Today, the party divide is much wider than any of these demographic differences.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans. But after some soul-searching, I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron [Paul] and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas. They were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class.”

— Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), quoted by the Washington Examiner., explaining what motivates Tea Party voters.

Partisans Stay Locked In

CBS News Nation Tracker: “This study shows party attachments have remained very stable in 2017, with neither Republicans nor Democrats able to draw many independents over to their side so far. Democrats aren’t becoming Republicans en masse, nor are Republicans becoming Democrats, and the few who have vacillated between parties aren’t as likely to vote in the first place — which sheds light on why today’s politics often seems dominated by partisans.”

“Overall, 91% of respondents identified with the same party in their most recent interview as they did the first time we talked to them this winter.”

Taking Another Look at the Electoral Math

John Judis: “On one level, there’s no arguing with the math. If you take the percentage of Americans that the U.S. census defines as ‘minorities’ and project their past voting habits into the next decade and beyond, you’ll come up with a very sunny version of the Democrats’ prospects.”

“There are only two problems with this line of thinking, but they’re pretty big ones. For starters, the census prediction of a ‘majority-minority’ America — slated to arrive in 2044 — is deeply flawed. And so is the notion that ethnic minorities will always and forever continue to back Democrats in Obama-like numbers.”

Americans Have Lackluster Views of Their Country

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that just 28% of adults called America the “single best place to live in the world,” with another 17% calling it “among the very few best places.”

More respondents put United States closer to the middle of the pack, with 37% calling America merely “above average” and 14% rating the country as “average.” An additional four percent called the U.S. “below average” on the global scale.

Exurbs Begin to Turn Away from Republicans

Wall Street Journal: “Data from Gallup show 45.5% of adults in exurban communities self-identified as Republican in the second quarter of 2017, down from 49.6% in the first quarter of 2017 and 51.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016. It was also the lowest quarterly number for self-identified Republicans in the exurbs since 2013, the earliest numbers available.”

“The data also showed an increase in self-identified Democrats in exurban counties to 40.5% from 37.3% in the first quarter of 2017 and 36.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. The 40.5% was the highest number recorded from Democrats since 2013.”

Baby Boomers Are No Longer the Largest Voting Bloc

“Baby Boomers and other older Americans are no longer the majority of voters in U.S. presidential elections,” according to Pew Research.

“Millennials and Generation Xers cast 69.6 million votes in the 2016 general election, a slight majority of the 137.5 million total votes cast, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, Boomers and older voters represented fewer than half of all votes for the first time in decades.”