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American Association for Public Opinion Research

WASHINGTON—Catalist data scientists are presenting three pieces of research at the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) conference this week.

Catalist Chief Scientist Yair Ghitza will present the What Happened analysis, including topline demographic results from the organizations’ modeling and a technical discussion of methods. Jonathan Robinson, Catalist’s Lead Research Scientist, is sharing the results of an analysis of ballot initiatives and polling data with Chris Warshaw, a political scientist at George Washington University and John Sides, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. Finally, Justine D'Elia-Kueper, a Catalist Data Scientist, along with Richard Cohen the Director of Product Commercialization for Data Solutions at Dynata and Edward Paul Johnson, Vice President of Advanced Analytics at Harris Poll, examined whether voters spending more time with mail-in ballots would lead to more ballot research, less reliance on party, and more split-ticket voting.

Recent Catalist Coverage

Center for Security in Politics Announces New Working Group to Study Digital Remote Voting

New group will consist of experienced cybersecurity and election security experts, election administrators and engineers to explore new voting methods that expand the ease and accessibility of voting

September 8, 2021

How Democrats Won the 2020 Election

August 6, 2021

"Every election cycle, dozens, if not hundreds, of post-election analyses are published to explain the results. Today, our Data Dive focuses on one analysis of the 2020 election: Progressive data firm Catalist’s “What Happened in 2020” study, which makes sense of a national database of voter turnout information and highlights key trends that could guide Democrats to victory in the future."

Biden can’t avoid a precarious balancing act. His voter base requires it

David Lauter | July 2, 2021

“Years ago, the exit polls were virtually the only game in town. Now, however, the sources of data have expanded. In April, the Census released its data on who voted, although it does not ask which candidate a person favored. There are also academic studies such as the Cooperative Congressional Election Study and the long-running American National Election Study from the University of Michigan and work from partisan groups like the Democratic firm Catalist, which issued an important analysis of election data in May.”

The Most Complete Picture Yet of America’s Changing Electorate

Republicans and Democrats have amassed divergent coalitions that will make coming elections especially competitive—and bitter.

Ronald Brownstein | July 1, 2021

President Biden cut into Donald Trump’s margins with married men and veteran households, a Pew survey shows. But there was a far deeper well of support for Mr. Trump than many progressives had imagined.

June 30, 2021

A years long challenge for the left was starkly illustrated this week as its hopes faded in the New York mayor’s race.

June 26, 2021

How Democrats can defy history in 2022

Out-of-Touch Media Elites Are Ignoring Working-Class Biden Voters

Eric Levitz | June 15, 2021

"In November’s general election, meanwhile, Biden won 47 percent of the non-college-educated vote, according to an analysis of voter-file records from the data firm Catalist. That isn’t a majority, but it’s no negligible fraction, either. In absolute terms, Biden received more votes from working-class Americans than he did from college-educated ones."

Biden is getting a big bounce with Hispanics

New data helps explain Trump’s gains among Latino voters in 2020

Democrats can’t afford to take Latino voters for granted.

“Is this bad news or is this good news for the Democratic Party? The reality is that’s not knowable right now,” Michael Frias, CEO of the election data analysis firm Catalist, said. “What we know is this is a fast-growing part of the electorate, and there’s opportunity here. The race is really who’s going to invest the time, energy and attention to learn more about these voters, engage more of these voters, and really listen to them.”

“Stop taking broad communities for granted. It has to be earned,” Frias said. “And it’s hard work to keep up communication and engagement with voters year-in, year-out, outside of election cycles and in election cycles. But there is enough money in politics to be able to have those conversations continuously.”

The 2020 Election Was a Breakthrough Moment For Young Voters

Charlotte Alter | May 18, 2021

"For starters, there are simply more of them. According to new data from the Democratic data firm Catalist, Millennials and members of Gen Z—which together make up the American adults born since 1981— now represent 31% of the electorate, up from 23% in 2016 and just 14% in 2008. Meanwhile, the voting blocs that have long maintained an iron grip on American political power are receding. In 2008, Baby Boomers and older generations (American adults born before 1964) made up 61% of the electorate; by 2020, they were only 44%."

“That’s a permanent change,” says Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist. “And it’s only going to grow from there.”

A new analysis uncovers the demographic shifts that led to Joe Biden’s victory

Suburban whites moved left; young and non-white voters showed up

May 14, 2021

"A new analysis by Catalist, a firm that examines political data, reveals many different angles to Mr Biden’s victory."

What Happened in 2020 Coverage

Trump’s improvement with non-White voters in 2020 was important — but not as important as the turnout surge

Philip Bump | May 10, 2021

"The data firm Catalist explored the 2020 electorate in a lengthy report published Monday. It breaks out the voter pool along several demographic lines, including race and education. In particular, the analysis splits up the White electorate into those with and without a college degree, a divide that emerged as essential in 2016 and 2018."

Massive turnout, voters of color — new data fill in the details on Biden’s election win

David Lauter | May 10, 2021

"Those voters, many of whom live in suburban areas, swung sharply against Trump in the 2018 midterm election and stuck with Biden in 2020, said Yair Ghitza, Catalist’s chief scientist."

“In the Trump era, white college voters have become an increasingly core piece of the Democratic coalition,” Ghitza said. A big question for the next couple of elections is, “will that continue?”

A new report complicates simplistic narratives about race and the 2020 election

The report from the firm Catalist looks at what changed since 2016, but also at the parties’ coalitions overall.

"In the days and weeks after presidential election results come in, commentators attempting to figure out what happened with voter demographics are often in a fog — forced to rely on unreliable exit polls. More rigorous analysis simply takes longer."

"Now, Catalist, a Democratic data firm, has put out a report on “What Happened in 2020,” authored by Yair Ghitza and Jonathan Robinson, which makes a serious attempt to answer that question. The report is superior to the exit polls because it’s based in their research for what’s known as a “voter file.” Basically, they’ve put together a large database of turnout information about actual voters, assembled from state or local records about who actually showed up."

Younger voters propelled Biden to victory over Trump in 2020, new study finds

Alex Roarty | May 10, 2021

“In short, 2020 accelerated a massive change in the composition of the electorate, with Millennials and Gen Z taking an increasingly prominent role in the future of American elections – a demographic change that is functionally permanent,” wrote Yair Ghitza and Jonathan Robinson, the co-authors of the Catalist study.

New Voters Helped Propel Biden in 2020

Amy Walter | May 10, 2021

"We know that 2020 produced the largest voter turnout in modern history. But, for a detailed understanding of who voted—and how they voted—we had to wait until state voter files were updated and analyzed. This week, Catalist, a Democratic data analytics firm, released their first deep dive into the 2020 election using their database, which, they note "includes 15 years of voter registration records, supplemented by large-scale polling, modeling and precinct-level geographic analysis. What they found was a national electorate more diverse than any in American history."

Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump

Reid Wilson | May 10, 2021

"The data firm Catalist explored the 2020 electorate in a lengthy report published Monday. It breaks out the voter pool along several demographic lines, including race and education. In particular, the analysis splits up the White electorate into those with and without a college degree, a divide that emerged as essential in 2016 and 2018."