As the data trickles out from the midterm elections, here is one summary about how suburbanites voted:
In 2018, independents went for Democrats 54 percent to 42 percent. Moderates broke for Democrats by a 26-point margin, and the suburbs split. In 2020, according to the national exit poll, independents went for Democrats 54 percent to 41 percent, moderates broke for Democrats by a 30-point margin, and Democrats won the suburbs 50 to 48 percent. Fox had similar results.
This year, independents went for Democrats narrowly. Moderates broke for Democrats by 15 points. And the suburbs narrowly went for Republicans in the national exit poll, while narrowly going for Democrats in the Fox voter analysis. Our national stalemate continued.
In the current state of national politics, both parties want the suburbs to break their way. It appears suburbanites were fairly split this year, meaning that not a whole lot changed. Will either party have a platform or message in 2024 that is more appealing to suburbanites than the other side?
Seeing these results also got me thinking about redistricting, gerrymandering, and how suburban areas are incorporated in districts. Given their volatility and patterns (suburbs closer to big cities lean one way, those on the metropolitan edges lean another way), do party leaders want to consolidate suburban votes or break them up? I would be very interested to see an analysis on this.
UPDATE: In at least one metropolitan region, Democrats continued to make inroads in the suburbs. Referring to DuPage County and the Chicago region as a whole:
The once-impenetrable GOP stronghold was considered purple territory in recent election cycles. But in a watershed moment, Democrats captured the county board chair seat and appeared to hold onto their board majority Tuesday.
The shift in DuPage is part of a political evolution in suburban areas. Four years after Democrats made significant gains in the region, several of the collar counties turned a darker shade of blue on Tuesday.
Democrats flipped key state House districts in the Northwest suburbs. They solidified control of the Lake County Board. The GOP has no representation in Congress from northeastern Illinois. And in DuPage, Democratic state Rep. Deb Conroy became the first woman elected county board chair.
As noted in the article, this is a significant change over the course of several decades.