"Distress 'Burbs" are the Hot Political Battlegrounds of Today

Forget swing states, Richard Florida says, suburbs are today’s political battlegrounds.
December 2, 2013, 7am PST | Anna Bergren Miller | @abergrenmiller
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In a recent feature for Politico magazine, Florida used data from USC political scientist Jeffrey M. Sellers, to flesh out his theory.  Political affiliation isn’t really up for grabs in dense cities, where residents tend to lean Democratic, nor in affluent suburbs, which usually vote Republican.  Instead, Florida argues, the question mark hovers over what he calls America’s “distress ‘burbs”—suburban areas hit hardest by the recession.

According to Sellers’s data, voters in the “distress ‘burbs” are most likely to swap Democratic for Republican party affiliation, or vice versa.  More specifically, they are prone to buck the regional trend:  less-well-off suburbs in red states tend to go for the Democratic candidate, while those in blue states vote Republican.

“But while voting patterns in the distress ‘burbs shift back and forth, ongoing urbanization and increased density appear to favor the Democrats,” Florida writes.  Regardless, the battle for the suburbs remains fierce, and they have come to define America’s new electoral map.”

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Published on Friday, November 29, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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