Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Future belongs to...

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today: "A pair of USA Today articles look at the 'marriage gap' and the 'fertility gap' in American politics--that is, the tendency of places with high rates of connubiality and parturition to vote Republican. Among the findings:

Republicans control 49 of the 50 [congressional] districts with the highest rates of married people.

Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district. . . .

Democrats represent 30 districts in which less than half of children live with married parents. Republicans represent none.

USA Today doesn't make much effort to explain this; about the closest it comes is this evenhanded quote from Prof. Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University: 'Both sides are very pro-kids. They just express it in different ways. Republicans are congenial to traditional families, which is clearly the best way for kids to grow up. But there are some kids who don't have that advantage, and Democrats are very concerned with helping those kids.'

Neither article, though, ever mentions the Democratic Party's status as champion of abortion, which seems to us to have great explanatory power. Obviously there is the Roe effect: Pro-abortion women, who are more likely to be Democrats, are more likely to abort their children, which gives Republicans a demographic advantage.

Abortion is related to the marriage gap too. Abortion is a "single" issue in more ways than one: Every poll we've seen shows that unwed people of both sexes are far more pro-abortion than the espoused. This makes perfect sense: Singles, with their slapdash sex lives, are both unlikely to want kids and less likely than married couples to have reliable birth-control rituals. Thus they feel much more acutely the need for abortion as a last resort should they become or make someone pregnant. If you live in a place like New York, you'll find lots of young adults who say they vote Democratic only because of abortion.

Of course, many of these people eventually get hitched and move to the suburbs, where some become Republicans, either because their views on abortion change or because it recedes in importance to them. (Relatedly, Republicans do better among wealthier voters; and wealth, like marriage, is a status to which many people who do not enjoy it aspire.)

Republicans, then, are outbreeding Democrats and doing better among voters whose personal lives are the most successful. All in all, the party of abortion is an unfruitful thing for the Democrats to be."

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