Republicans: Mostly White, Mostly Religious, Old.

In the least surprising survey result ever, Gallup finds that non-Hispanic whites make up the vast majority of the Republican coalition:

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As far as the GOP's political strategy is concerned, I think it's far more important to note the significant advantage Republicans have among older voters; 57 percent of whites age 45 and older voted for John McCain in 2008, and older whites form the vast majority of the conservative grassroots, including -- as we've seen -- the Tea Party. That older voters have a grip on the GOP is reflected in the spectacle of Republican lawmakers defending one government-run health-insurance program (Medicare) from cuts while railing against a market-oriented health-reform package that relies on private insurers and an individual market.

One last thing: If liberals want a sane GOP -- and we should, since they'll have the reins of power in a due time -- then we should hope for a party that doesn't rely on older whites for the vast majority of its voters. As a rule, older whites tend to be much more conservative than their younger counterparts, and without younger whites -- or younger minorities -- to counterbalance the influence of older whites, Republican politicians will continue to pander in that direction, and move the party closer to Glenn Beck and his ilk. By contrast, a GOP that picks up 35 percent of the youth vote might be more willing to work for constructive solutions, or at least, more so than a party that exists to jealously guard the interests of the elderly.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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