America's New Swing Region

America's New Swing Region: Changing Politics and Demographics in the Mountain West

Ruy Teixeira editor
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 196
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  • Book Info
    America's New Swing Region
    Book Description:

    The Mountain West -Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah -has become the new swing region in American politics. All signs point to these states, especially Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, being crucial in the 2012 election. Unfortunately, the rise of this region has been underreported in the media, and many political observers have only the most superficial understanding of the profound economic, political, and social changes that continue to reshape the Mountain West.America's New Swing Regionis the remedy.

    Led by bestselling author and political analyst Ruy Teixeira, a talented group of scholars assembled by the Brookings Mountain West program (housed at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas) presents the facts and the narrative necessary for understanding what is happening in this region and why it is so important.

    Contents1. Introduction and Overview

    2. America's New Swing Region: The Political Demography and Geography of the Mountain West

    3. Metropolitan Voting Patterns in the Mountain West: The New and Old Political Heartlands

    4. Hispanics, Race, and the Changing Political Landscape of the United States Mountain West

    5. The Political Attitudes of the Millennial Generation in the Mountain West

    6. The Mountain West Today: A Regional Survey

    7. Reapportionment and Redistricting in the Mountain West

    Contributors include Karlyn Bowman (American Enterprise Institute), David Damore(University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), William Frey (Brookings Institution), Scott Keeter (Pew Research Center), Robert E. Lang (Brookings, UNLV, and the Lincy Institute), Tom Sanchez (Virginia Tech University), and Ruy Teixeira (Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress).

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2287-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Robert E. Lang and William E. Brown Jr

    Brookings Mountain West is a partnership between the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Brookings Institution, the world’s leading public policy think tank, based in Washington, D.C. Brookings Mountain West brings Brookings’s high-quality, independent, and high-impact research to a wide range of issues facing the dynamic Intermountain West region, building on the work of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which focuses on helping metropolitan areas, such as Las Vegas, grow in robust, inclusive, and sustainable ways.

    Brookings Mountain West faculty and staff, in both Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., conduct research; publish data and analyses; host conferences, meetings,...

  4. introduction: America’s New Swing Region
    (pp. 1-10)
    Ruy Teixeira

    The United States is experiencing a period of rapid demographic change, and nowhere is the speed of change more rapid than in the Mountain West, which includes the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.* As this region has changed, its politics have changed as well. It should no longer be considered a reliably conservative and Republican area but rather a new swing region of the country. In the 2008 presidential election, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico all went for Democrat Barack Obama, and these states are all sure to be hotly contested by the parties in...

  5. one America’s New Swing Region: The Political Demography and Geography of the Mountain West
    (pp. 11-68)
    William H. Frey and Ruy Teixeira

    This chapter on the political demography and geography of six Mountain West states—Arizona, Colorado, Idaho Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—focuses on a demographically dynamic part of the country where the current balance of political forces is in flux. Demographic and geographic trends are constantly testing the political balance in these states, as was evident in the 2008 presidential election when three of the states turned from “red” to “blue” and the other three remained red. This chapter provides a guide to the trends that are currently reshaping the balance of forces in these states, with considerable implications for...

  6. [Maps]
    (pp. None)
  7. two Metropolitan Voting Patterns in the Mountain West: The New and Old Political Heartlands
    (pp. 69-81)
    Robert E. Lang and Thomas W. Sanchez

    In a 2008 analysis of regional growth patterns, Robert Lang, Andrea Sarzynski, and Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution dubbed the booming Mountain West the “New Heartland.”¹ The analysis focused on the large metro areas, or “Mountain Megas,” in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. This chapter also focuses on electoral politics in the Mountain West’s big metropolitan areas, where increasing scale and demographic diversity are shifting the electoral dynamic of statewide races. The net result is that the Mountain West is not just growing but also is evolving into a far more centrist swing region that will likely...

  8. three Hispanics, Race, and the Changing Political Landscape of the United States and the Mountain West
    (pp. 82-106)
    William H. Frey

    One of the key shifts in the nation’s political demographics that will make the Mountain West a key swing region in future presidential elections is the growth of minority populations, especially Hispanics, as a share of the region’s electorate. As discussed below, minorities were responsible for winning ten states for Barack Obama in 2008, Nevada and New Mexico being prime examples, and the increases in the numbers of Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians in all of the Mountain West states will give them an even larger political voice in a region that has been long thought of as predominantly white....

  9. four The Political Attitudes of the Millennial Generation in the Mountain West
    (pp. 107-125)
    Scott Keeter

    The politics of the American West are frequently described as paradoxical—an uneasy, awkward marriage of rugged frontier ideals and rapid demographic change. But change is at the heart of the frontier spirit, and opportunity is a core motivation of the many Americans settling in the West. Young people are at the center of this change, especially in the Mountain West region where the population tilts young. And young adults in the region are politically distinctive, just as they are in the rest of the country. This chapter will examine the political attitudes and behavior of the youngest generation of...

  10. five The Mountain West Today A Regional Survey
    (pp. 126-152)
    Karlyn Bowman and Ruy Teixeira

    What does it mean to live in the Mountain West today? What issues are most and least important to the region’s residents? Do Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah have a collective identity, or are their state-level differences too great? Is there an identifiable Mountain West personality? Results from the 2010 Brookings Mountain West Survey allow us to begin to answer those questions.

    This chapter provides an overview of this survey, with results for key questions broken out by state. We conclude by taking a look at how ongoing demographic shifts may affect the public opinion profile of...

  11. six Reapportionment and Redistricting in the Mountain West
    (pp. 153-186)
    David F. Damore

    During the first decade of the twenty-first century, no region in the United States experienced anything like the political and demographic changes that occurred in the six states of the Mountain West: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Collectively, these states grew at unprecedented levels that resulted in populations that are more demographically diverse than before and increasingly urbanized—all of which helped to transform a region that was a traditional Republican stronghold into a partisan battleground. To be sure, those changes were more prevalent in some states (for example, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico) than others...

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 187-188)
  13. Index
    (pp. 189-196)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 197-198)