Metro Phoenix’s housing crash might have helped President Donald Trump get elected.
New research from Arizona State University shows the Valley’s foreclosure crisis led to more of the area’s voters opting against incumbents and "traditional" candidates.
And it found that voters in the traditionally Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voting blocs who lost homes also lost their desire to vote.
“Voters in neighborhoods hardest-hit by foreclosures were mad and often scared about their situation,” Deirdre Pfeiffer, an ASU associate professor with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, said. “They blamed politicians in power and voted to get them out.”
During the past several months, she worked with professors from Texas and England to find out if the housing crash in Maricopa County impacted election results.
Their answer: A definite yes.
The research delved into foreclosures, voter turnout and changes in the Republican vote margin by neighborhood and demographic groups in metro Phoenix.
"I was really shocked to find the strong effect of racial demographics on voting in Maricopa County," Pfeiffer said. "The more white a neighborhood became due to the housing crash, the more conservative it voted."
Previous Census data has shown Hispanics and African-Americans were hardest hit by the Valley's housing crisis, losing more homes and jobs than whites.
“The idea for the research came right after last year’s presidential election,” said Pfeiffer. “The outcome was a shock for some people in the Valley.”
She has done a lot of research on how the housing crash affected demographics and crime and wanted to find out if it also affected politics.
Pfeiffer recently presented the early findings on what the researchers have named the "Housing Distress Political Feedback Loop" at an ASU W.P. Carey School of Business Real Estate Council meeting.
Her research hasn’t yet been published, so I agreed not to include the data analysis she shared with me in this column. But I can say it's comprehensive and uses well-respected data sources.
The research already is drawing a lot of attention.
“Deirdre’s research is fascinating,” Mark Stapp, director of the Master of Real Estate Development program at Arizona State University, said. “We are still learning just how profound of an impact the foreclosure crisis had on people.”