Political Science


Pearson-Merkowitz, Shanna

Advisor Department

Political Science




New York; political parties; migration; immigration; generational replacement; minority voting

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


This paper is an analysis of the recent changes in party support throughout the state of New York. Based on research by James Gimpel and Jason Schuknecht in their 2004 book “Patchwork Nation,” the focus is on determining which specific factors have been contributing to the shifts in support for the two major parties in key regions of the state. In particular, migration and immigration as well as demographic changes within New York’s electorate are considered. More importantly, economic changes within the state and the effects they have had on party support are examined as well. My research is based both on widely accepted theories about political parties and some theories of my own that have been inspired by popular political theories.

The quantitative data that I collected and analyzed has led me to conclude that the most significant forces behind changes in party support in New York are increased concentrations of young voters, changes in the economy, and increased minority and immigrant populations within counties. An increase in the young population within counties has led to more Republican voting. In terms of the economy, counties that have suffered from economic decline show increased support for the GOP. Conversely, counties that have experienced economic improvement tend to vote more Democratic. Increased minority populations, specifically a growth in the Hispanic population, have resulted in drastic declines in Republican voting. Similarly, counties that received a significant amount of immigrants experienced increased support for the Democratic Party. Migration was not substantially correlated with changes in party support, although it should be noted that counties that experienced an increase in voters from the Northeast became more Democratic, and counties that gained voters from the South became more Republican. It should also be noted that these correlations were found only for presidential election results. Gubernatorial election results, on the other hand, appear uncorrelated with changing demographics.