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Are Republicans really that "disspirited?"
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, November 04, 2006

Interesting observations by Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics.com about a study published by Curtis Gans of American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate which analyzes nationwide voter registration data:
Gans also offers some surprising information on partisan registration. He has analyzed the 13 states that have supplied partisan registration voting data, comparing them to prior years. Relative to 2002, the Republicans have actually closed the registration gap. In 2002, the Democrats had a 7.0% registration advantage over Republicans in these 13 states. This year, their advantage is down to 5.8%. I won't report the actual figures because they are inflated (due to deaths and geographical movement), but the trend lines here are, as Gans argues, valid (so long, of course, as Democrats are no more likely to have died or moved than Republicans).
The significance?
Nevertheless, this data offers some interesting qualifications on the "disspirited" storyline that the press has embraced. If Republicans are disspirited, they do not seem to be expressing it by altering their long-term registration habits in these 13 states.
If true, next tuesday is all about GOTV, isn't it?
 
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Of course it’s (always) about GOTV. And of course the GOP isn’t as dispirited as the press wants to portray them as being.

If this truly were a Democrat "wave" year, would the GOP candidates be so close in NJ and MD?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Some of those changes in registration are long-term changes in the South. I bet a lot of those shifts happened in 2004 when Republicans made a concerted effort to get Southerners to switch party allegiances so they could participate in primaries and nominate conservative candidates. I’m not sure how much of this happened after 2004, though. Rasmussen (not exactly pro-Dem) has done an extensive set of polling on party identification nationwide and has discovered the opposite. See this survey by Rasmussen on party ID changes over the last few years. Both parties have lost numbers since 2004 to Independents, but Republicans have lost numbers much more quickly. This is how they broke down changes in Party ID.

Oct. 2004
38.7% Dem
37.2% GOP

The election was about dead even, so either this number was off by one (within MOE) or the trend of turning people to the Republicans continued in the final weeks of the campaign.


Oct. 2005
36.2% Dem
34.1% GOP

In this post-Katrina survey, both parties lost numbers compared to the prior year. But the GOP lost a whole point more than the Dems. In a non-election year people tend to revert to Independent status anyway, as party operatives leave them alone.


Oct. 2006
37.7%
31.5%

This is the shocking data. The Dems have regained ID with the coming election campaign, as you would expect. But the Republicans have actually hemhorraged ID. It’s clear that these now ex-Republicans became Independents, not Democrats. But that it happened in an election year is troubling for the GOP. This is precisely what happened to Democrats in 1994, BTW.


Party registration is not a useful a barometer of voting behavior as party self-identification because, in many jurisdictions, only one party rules. Does it make sense to register as a Republican in Washington, DC? Or as a Democrat in Idaho? In those places, you control politics in the primaries, not the general election.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://

 
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