How the Democratic and Republican Parties Have Changed, in 8 Charts

Profound demographic shifts have transformed one party but only modestly affected the other.

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Libby Isenstein and Ronald Brownstein
April 23, 2015, 7:29 a.m.

From Bill Clin­ton’s first elec­tion as pres­id­ent in 1992 to Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s second pres­id­en­tial can­did­acy in 2015, the Demo­crat­ic Party has been trans­formed by demo­graph­ic change and polit­ic­al re­align­ment, while the Re­pub­lic­an Party has changed much more mod­estly.

The fol­low­ing charts sum­mar­ize the key changes in the com­pos­i­tion of Amer­ic­ans who identi­fy with or lean to­ward the two parties, us­ing res­ults from polls by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter for the People and the Press.

The Demo­crats’ demo­graph­ic trans­form­a­tion has left a co­ali­tion with much more con­sist­ently lib­er­al views on so­cial is­sues like gay rights and im­mig­ra­tion than in Bill Clin­ton’s era, while Re­pub­lic­ans, again, have changed more mod­estly. On guns, Demo­crat­ic at­ti­tudes have changed little, while the GOP has tilted dra­mat­ic­ally to­ward em­phas­iz­ing gun rights over gun con­trol. At­ti­tudes in both parties have warmed some­what to­ward free trade since the 1990s.

Contributions by Janie Boschma
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