Suburban Voters

AP US Government and Politics

We know that most urban voters are Democrats and most rural voters are Republicans. But are suburban voters more likely to identify as Democrats or Republicans?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What has happened to Republican support in urban areas over the past 20 years?

  3. What is one cause of this urban tilt?

  4. What has happened to Democratic support in rural areas over the past 20 years?

  5. What is one cause of this rural tilt?

  6. How much does the data in the chart accurately describe the place where you live?

  7. If you had to make a statement regarding party affiliation of rural versus urban voters what would it be?

  8. Can you think of a mnemonic device to help remember your party affiliation statement from question 7?

  9. Why do you think rural voters are so pro-Republican?

  10. Why do you think urban voters are so pro-Democratic?

  11. Based on the data above, what information do we need to know in order to predict the outcome of an election?

  12. It's a fact that people who register as independents generally vote for the same party year after year in elections. Why do these people who regularly lean in one direction register as independents?

  13. What is one advantage to registering as a member of a political party?

  14. Can non-citizens vote in federal elections?*

  15. Can non-citizens run for federal office?*

  16. Can naturalized citizens become U.S. Representatives or Senators?*

  17. Can naturalized citizens become U.S. President?*

  18. If subhumans are less than human, are suburbanites less than urbanites?

  19. What is one consequence of this big rural urban divide in America?

  20. How much has this urban/rural party affiliation divide grown over the past two decades, and if it continues, what will this urban/rural party affiliation divide look like in two more decades?

  21. How has this urban/rural divide impacted the Trump presidency?

*Answers

11. No

12. No

13. Yes

14. Heck No!

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out all the fabulous charts in the Pew Research Center report on trends in party affiliation.

Action Extension

Create a mnemonic device to remember the party affiliation leanings of Americans based on race, gender, education, and generation. Share your mnemonic in class or online.

Cartoon Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

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Switching Parties

AP US Government and Politics

Party identification is sticky, meaning that year after year, most people stay in the same party. What percentage of Americans switched parties in 2017?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story here?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of the fact that so few people switch parties?

  5. Explain whether this story is good or bad news.

  6. What do you think is the main motivation for people to switch parties?

  7. My grandfather switched parties during the Reagan administration. My father in law switched parties during the Obama administration. Do you know anyone who has ever switched parties?

  8. Who was the last major political figure who switched political parties?

  9. What would the party with which you currently identify have to do to make you immediately switch to the other major party?

  10. Over the past year, 22% of people who identified as independents (neither Democrat or Republican) moved towards a political party. Why do you think that change occurred?

  11. What age group do you think is most likely to switch parties?*

  12. Why do you think that is? 

  13. How much did President Trump impact party switching?*

  14. Over the past year, 23% of young Republicans (age 18-29) defected from the party. Why do you think that is?

  15. What is one thing the Republican Party could do to get these voters back?

  16. What question do you have about this data?

  17. Explain whether party switching will become more frequent in the future.

  18. The other day, Donald Trump's Twitter account was deleted for 11 minutes. If political parties were suddenly deleted, but permanently, how do you think this would impact American politics?

  19. Republicans are known as elephants and Democrats, as donkeys. What would be the best mascot for people who switch parties?

  20. Switching Parties sort of sounds like a song title. In the comments section name the artist most likely to record this song:

Learning Extension

Check out this Pew report on party switching.

Action Extension

Find one person who has ever switched parties. Interview them to find out what made them switch. Share your results in class or online.

Visual Extension*

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Adorable Animal Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

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Political Party Identification

AP US Government and Politics

What demographic group has the strongest Republican Party identification?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this chart?

  3. Describe any trends you can identify in the data.

  4. How did the information in the chart impact the 2016 presidential election?

  5. How did the information from the chart impact the 2018 midterm election?

  6. Why do you think Mormons voters identify so strongly with the Republican Party?

  7. Why do you think Black voters identify so strongly with the Democratic Party?

  8. Which of the groups listed in the chart is the largest in population?

  9. Which of the groups listed in the chart is growing most quickly?

  10. Of the parties listed in the chart, which has support from demographic groups that are growing the most quickly?

  11. What information that this chart does not include would help you determine who will most likely win the next election?

  12. Which of the groups in the chart are you a part of?

  13. How accurately does the data from the chart reflect your own party identification?

  14. Imagine you are having a conversation with any one of the groups listed above. Explain to them why they are wrong to support the party they tilt towards.

  15. If you were a Republican political party operative, what about the chart would cause you the most concern and what would make you the most excited?

  16. In the comments section, explain how the information from the charts will affect strategy and the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?

  17. Overall, describe how Democrats and Republicans compare in terms of total support.

  18. Explain then, with this advantage, why Democrats don’t always win elections.

  19. Describe how political socialization impacts the data from the chart above.

  20. Based on the chart above and your knowledge of American politics, respond to the following claim: if people just voted as Americans instead of as Jewish-Americans, White Southern-Americans, Mormon-Americans, etc., our country would be more united.

Visual Extension

Gender, education, age divides in party affiliation

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Report on party identification.

Action Extension

Contact the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and, based on the data in the chart, explain to them what electoral strategy they should adopt.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

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Our Ridiculously Random Chart Extension

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Party Conventional Wisdom

The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Charlotte, NC (whoot, whoot). Over the past century, what U.S. city has been the home to the most political party conventions?

Infographic: Democrats Pick Milwaukee for 2020 National Convention | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
  1. How accurate was your ridiculous prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this silly map?

  3. In your opinion, what is the most important American city that has never had a convention? (Pro-tip: Orlando is not really that important).

  4. Why do you think Chicago is the city that has had the most conventions? (Windy City- coincidence???? Just Sayin’)!

  5. Why do you think the Democrats are holding their 2020 nominating convention in Wisconsin, a state Obama won in 2008 and 2012?

  6. Why do you think the Republicans are holding their 2020 nominating convention in (whoot! Whoot!) North Carolina (N. Cakalacky)?

  7. Since 2008, what kind of state has hosted every national political convention?*

  8. What explains that trend?

  9. Why do we have national political party conventions, anyway?

  10. And what happens at National Conventions?

  11. Now that you have read, internalized, and memorized Federalist No. 10 and are an expert on James Madison (163 centimeters tall - five foot four inches) and his feelings towards factions, explain what Madison would have thought about party conventions.

  12. If you were the head of the Democratic National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention.

  13. If you were the head of the Republican National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention. (Pro tip: you’re not).

  14. Based on the silly map above, describe any regional differences in the location of party conventions for the two major parties.

  15. Explain whether you think national nominating conventions increase or decrease democracy.

  16. Explain whether independents get a national party convention?

  17. How are delegates to conventions decided, anyhow?

  18. What is it about Cleveland that the Democratic Party hates so much that they have never had a convention there?????

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Listen to this insane Here and Now report. *Warning: Graphic language. The following NPR report may not be suitable for all listeners.

Action Extension

Did you know that mere mortals like you can attend a national party convention?!?! Contact your favorite political party and ask them what you need to do to attend the 2020 national party convention. You might just be surprised by what you learn. Share their response in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

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Our Animals in Clothing Extension


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A Totally Random and Unrelated Visual Extension

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Declaration of Independents

AP US Government and Politics

GoPo Pro

Are there more Democrats, Republicans or Independents in the United States?

Pro Tip: Think hard.

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  1. You are wrong! How accurate was your silly prediction?

  2. Identify one trend in party identification over the past 24 years?

  3. Explain whether this is good or bad news.

  4. What is one cause of that trend?

  5. What is one consequence of that trend?

  6. Based on the trend from the chart, what will this party affiliation breakdown look like in 2040?

  7. There are more Independents than either Democrats or Republicans. about what portion of Congress are Independents?

  8. Given that there are more Independents than Democrats or Republicans, what are two reasons that Independents rarely win election to congress?

  9. Explain whether it would be more likely for an independent senator or an independent President to be elected to office?

  10. What portion of Independents are truly Independent and do not actually lean toward one party or the other?

  11. What is the opposite of progress?*

  12. What portion of statistics are made up on the spot?*

  13. Based solely on the table above, which party would you bet would win the 2020 presidential election?

  14. Based on what you know about US politics, explain why the bet you made in the last question might be wrong?

  15. In what way are Independents demographically different from Democrats or Republicans?

*Congress; 47%

Visual Extension


Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report: Political Independents: Who They Are, What They Think before it’s too late!

Action Extension

Here is a list of some American Independent parties. Maybe you like the Libertarian Party, Green Party, Prohibition Party, Pirate Party, the Light Party or the Modern Whig Party. Share your favorite one with your friends or enemies in class or online.

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