KCUR News
2:39 am
Mon October 6, 2008

Studies Look To Suburbs For Latest In Election Battles

Kansas City, Missouri – A number of studies are looking at voting patterns in the suburbs, but one in particular identifies suburbs in the Missouri counties of Platte, Clay, and Clinton as places the candidates might pay special attention to. A study scheduled to be released next week by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech looks at so-called "emerging" suburbs, or those that have evolved in rings outside of cities.Laura Ziegler looked into the report's findings.

Platte, Clay and Clinton counties include these "emerging" suburbs, defined by growing population density, shifts in their job profile, and a burgeoning number of families who commute into the city to work. These are trends, experts say,that might affect their voting behavior.

In most suburbs, says co- author Tom Sanchez of the University of Utah, the margin of victory in elections at the top of the ticket is about 20%. What the study found in these Missouri counties was a margin of 9% or less in the last two national elections, as well as increasing ambivalence.

Tom Sanchez: "We found what we refer to as 'switchers' where we actually see these counties elect Democrats and Republicans... more independent counties in their voting behaviors."

The study looked at almost 100 suburban counties around the country. Sanchez said polls were changing so quickly it was too hard to say weather the shifts favor the Republicans or Democrats.