US Shifting Blue

The New York Times has a new piece on the national trends away from the GOP, both registration-wise and at a local electoral level. What's most interesting to me is that there's absolutely no attempt at forced balance in the article. There's not one "GOP consultants say..." to be found, which is refreshing. It's content to report the facts, even if they are all bad for the Republican Party.

Check out these registration statistics:

In several states, including the traditional battlegrounds of Nevada and Iowa, Democrats have surprised their own party officials with significant gains in registration. In both of those states, there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans, a flip from 2004. No states have switched to the Republicans over the same period, according to data from 26 of the 29 states in which voters register by party. (Three of the states did not have complete data.)

In six states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, the Democratic piece of the registration pie grew more than three percentage points, while the Republican share declined. In only three states -- Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma -- did Republican registration rise while Democratic registration fell, but the Republican increase was less than a percentage point in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Louisiana was the only state to register a gain of more than one percentage point for Republicans as Democratic numbers declined. [...]

Among the 26 states with registration data, the percentage of those who have signed on with Democrats has risen in 15 states since 2004, and the percentage for Republicans has risen in six, according to state data. The number of registered Democrats fell in 11 states, compared with 20 states where Republican registration numbers fell.

In the 26 states and the District of Columbia where registration data were available, the total number of registered Democrats increased by 214,656, while the number of Republicans fell by 1,407,971.

What's interesting is that this shift is not seen as merely a function of the enthusiasm generated by the presidential primary. In fact, it's been a trend that's been evident for several years, which in itself speaks to the likelihood that the shifts we're seeing are sustainable in the longterm.

"This is very suggestive that there is a fundamental change going on in the electorate," said Michael P. McDonald, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of political science at George Mason University who has studied voting patterns.

Mr. McDonald added that, more typically, voting and registration patterns tended to even out or revert to the opposing party between elections. [...]

But for a shift away from one party to sustain itself -- the current registration trend is now in its fourth year -- is remarkable, researchers who study voting patterns say.

As the piece makes clear, the voter registration numbers are just a product of underlying shifts taking place, a perfect storm that has included profound disillusionment with Bush, changes in the demographic landscape ("including the rise in the number of younger voters and the urbanization of suburbs") as well as the adoption of a more pragmatic approach by the Democratic Party to run more conservative candidates in conservative districts and states. The big questions are whether this movement toward the Democrats is sustainable and whether it will manifest in a wave election in November that sweeps Barack Obama into the presidency along with larger congressional majorities.

"Major political realignment is not just controlling the branches of government," said Mr. McDonald of the Brookings Institution. "It is when you decisively do it. We haven't seen that in modern generations."

For it is only with decisive victories that the sort of shifts in demographics, voter registration and voting behavior we're already seeing throughout the country can lead to the sort of transformative policy shifts we've been working toward for years.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Democrats, Demographics, registration, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: US Shifting Blue

It looks like the drop in Republicans is a lot larger than the gains in  Democrats. This means the fastest growing segment should be Independents.  I don't know what that means for a progressive agenda.  Obama's platform is certainly very moderate and centrist in my opinion.

by dMarx 2008-08-05 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

No clear answer because of mulitiple scales- partisan, idealogical , etc. If  you understand it as  spectrum, then it may shift the entire spectrum leftward if partisan is linked to idealogical. It shifts the underlying assumptions of policy making. Compare this to say France- they elected a conservative, but the underlying assumption is liberal so the effect is moderately left. Obama in theory would be working in a much more liberal environment, althoug how liberal is unclear when one reads Swing State Project about the continued influence of conservative/blue dog Dems inside the party. a reduction in conservative republicans doesn't per se mean a reduction in conservatives- those conservatives could simply change parties to be democrats as the gop influence decreases. This is why its complicated. however if my guess is right over time the shift is also idealogical.

by bruh3 2008-08-05 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

something tells me that a lot of the registered independents out in the country are far lefties sick of the center-right Democratic Party.

I was one for a while...until the primaries of 2004 so I could vote fro Dean.

by jgarcia 2008-08-05 03:12PM | 0 recs
DNC Event List

Speaking of the Convention - Does anyone know of a listing of DNC events that is out there?

The best list for events during the DNC I've run across so far is at

http://www.metrohikers.com/dnc_sign_up.h tml

you need to do the free registration for the site, but the event list looks pretty decent and apparently it's updated daily.

if there's anything else out there...please share!

by Sues22 2008-08-05 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

Obama registration drives are what separate him from all the other candidates on either side. The turnout he will produce in the General Election will be more than enough to cruise to victory.

by spacemanspiff 2008-08-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

Just remember, voter registration is only step No. 1. Getting out the vote is the closer. I still have ringing in my ears what the Registrar of Voters in Nueces County, TX had to say at the opening of the county Democratic HQ: "It won't matter if we get 140,000 Democrats registered if only 50,000 turn out to vote."

by jlmccreery 2008-08-05 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

Yes, voter turn-out will be crucial. But we can't vote yet... so currently voter registration numbers are the important ones. Out in our district, CA-03, which is typically viewed as a safe congressional district for the Republicans, Democratic voter registration is steadily gaining on the Republicans. The PVI R+7 district now has only a 4% (and rapidly shrinking) Republican registration advantage.  That is the smallest Republican voter registration advantage of any district in California with a Republican advantage. If this trend continues, Democratic candidate Bill Durston may have a real shot at ousting Dan Lungren this November.

Durston recently created a little video that highlights the hypocrisy of his opponent.  Lungren first claims not to take luxury vacations paid for by special interests, and then is caught doing just that by ABC News, despite House ethics laws which prohibit such trips. Send Durston some love on his ActBlue page to send Lungren on a permanent vacation.

We're taking back red California and red America one district at a time...

by chcalicam 2008-08-05 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: US Shifting Blue

One thing that almost no pundit in the MSM comments on, EVER, is the fact that every 4 years, we have a totally DIFFERENT electorate! They always talk about the Electorate being influenced, or changing its mind, or having a certain mood.  It's APPLES AND ORANGES!  We have a new Electorate every time.

There's 4 years of old people (and not so old) dying, and 4 years of people turning 18 years old and voting for the first time.

The number of people who remember living in a world of segregation, and apartheid in this country, is growing thinner and thinner every year.  The number of people who have a problem with minorities is getting lower and lower every election.

With the Democrats remaining an inclusionist party, and the Republicans remaining an exclusionist party, the numbers don't lie: we're going to be having more and more Democrats and fewer Republicans as the years and decades pass by.

Soon enough, white people will be (like all other groups) a minority in this country.  A plurality to be sure, but a minority.  It's already happening in our large cities.  There will be no majority.  And the number of racists will be decidedly thin on the ground.

All this bodes well for painting the map blue in the future.  I almost went on Amazon.com and bought Hugh Hewitt's book from a couple years ago, "Painting the Map Red."  You can get it for a penny, plus shipping. I just wanted to read to see how spectacularly wrong his predictions turned out.

Your prediction didn't exactly turn out how you had hoped it would, did it, Hugh?  This year, that election map will look like a swimming pool with a small red inflatable raft floating in the lower right corner.  YEAH!

by Reluctantpopstar 2008-08-06 01:00PM | 0 recs

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