John Emerson points me to some interesting data crunching over at Open Left. The diarist, “dreaminonempty,” is analyzing the past few years’ election results against demographic variables. What’s there not to like? Though I do think the perspective is a bit too The Emerging Democratic Majority. Yes, it does look like the Republicans, as a white Christian party, are in a world of demographic hurt. But, be cautious about projecting current trends too far. By that, I mean that the trends working against the Republicans are clear, but we aren’t quite where the Republicans were during the 1970s-1990s where the opposition party had to play on their terms (e.g., the two Democratic Presidents were Southerners who engaged in triangulation). Realignments take time, and by the time all the dynamics play out some of the background assumptions may have changed.
More substantively, below is a comparison of the proportion of votes that the Republican John C Fremont received in 1856, and the proportion of whites who voted for Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 (the % county-by-county here is an estimate since Exit Polls are only statewide).
My conclusion by inspection is that Yankees, the whites of Greater New England, were willing to vote for “Black Republicans” in the 1850s, and they were willing to vote for a black Democrat in 2008. It would be nice to generate an r-squared, by I don’t have the original data sets handy right now.