Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Winning The Suburbs
Democrats made large gains in suburbia in this month's elections, pushing Republican turf to the outer edges of major population centers in a trend that could signal trouble for the GOP, an analysis shows.Looks like all but the hardest-core white-flighters are starting to realize that we're all in this together. As the inner-ring suburbs and exurbs grow in density, people are realizing that they just can't up and run away -- they have to plant roots and work with their neighbors, no matter their color or creed.
Democrats carried nearly 60% of the U.S. House vote in inner suburbs in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas, up from about 53% in 2002, according to the analysis by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. They received nearly 55% of the vote in the next ring of "mature" 20- and 30-year-old suburbs, with 45% going to Republicans and third-party candidates. In 2002, the last midterm election, Democrats received 50% of the vote there. "Republicans are getting pushed to the fringes of the metropolis," said sociologist Robert Lang, director of the institute. "They simply have to be more competitive in more suburbs," he said, to win statewide and presidential races. The line between blue Democratic and red Republican territory used to be drawn at the outer boundaries of close-in "streetcar suburbs" with older housing and signs of decline, Lang said. They've become steadily more Democratic in the four elections since 2000, he said, and now are "solid blue." Well-established or "mature" suburbs increasingly are turning Democratic, Lang said. He said the trend probably is permanent because such suburbs have become denser and have drawn more foreign-born residents as Republicans have moved farther from urban cores.
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