Arizona: College-educated whites are also increasing only modestly in the electorate here, with women providing most of the growth. From 1980 to 2012, college-educated white men remained virtually unchanged, rising only from 15 percent to 16 percent of actual voters; the well-educated women edged up from 12 percent to 15 percent. More here than in Georgia or Texas, states with deeper traditions of religiously based social conservatism, Democrats have shown some potential with Arizona's white-collar women: They won at least 45 percent of them in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, although Obama fell back to about two-fifths in each of his two runs. To contest the state moving forward, the party will need to restore that competitiveness to offset weak showings among college-educated white men (just one-third for Obama in 2012); noncollege white men (no Democrat has attracted more than 32 percent of them since 2000); and noncollege white women (no Democrat has exceeded 38 percent of them here since 2000). The one consolation for Democrats, as elsewhere, is that noncollege whites dropped from just over three-fifths to slightly more than two-fifths of actual voters from 1980 to 2012.
Texas: While education trends haven't reshaped the Texas electorate as much as elsewhere, the state is following the nation in its shifting pattern of marital status. Married couples were 69 percent of all eligible voters in 1980, but just 54 percent in 2012 (although they remained 61 percent of actual voters). In what could be a commentary on the state's vibrant job market, the population of single men has grown even slightly faster over that period (from 13 percent to 21 percent of eligible voters) than that of single women (from 18 percent to 25 percent).
Georgia: The same trends are visible here. Married couples represented two-thirds of eligible voters and three-fourths of actual voters in 1980; by 2012, the numbers were 54 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Over the same period, single men have increased from 10 percent to 17 percent of actual voters, and single women from 16 percent to 26 percent, a similar pace of growth.
Arizona: Married voters are diminishing here, too, but they retain a larger role than in Georgia. In 1980, they constituted 69 percent of actual voters; by 2012, that had slipped to 61 percent. The growth in singles has come entirely among unmarried men (up from 11 percent to 18 percent of voters); single women have grown as a share of the eligible population, but they remained stuck at exactly one-fifth of actual voters in 2012. That's another hurdle for Democrats, who generally run well among unmarried women.
Texas: The state is aging, but not nearly as fast as many others, largely because of its youthful Hispanic population. In 1980, voters under 40 represented a 54 percent majority of eligible voters and voters older than 50 equaled just three in 10. By 2012, the under-40 group (at 43 percent) was only slightly larger than the over-50 group (at 39 percent). Those older voters, who represented just 38 percent of actual voters in 1980, cast a 53 percent majority of votes in 2012.