Nov 02 2012

Where Have All The Democrats Gone?

Published by at 4:23 pm under 2012 Elections,All General Discussions

Updates Galore! – at the end of post

A very interesting study is out from a left wing think tank that may have the explanation for why the polls are all skewed to Obama compared to what people see as a Romney surge on the ground and nationally. It has to do with a migration in the country from left to right  related to party ID. Ed Morrissey has the scoop:

Their chart shows the problem for Democrats in stark relief:

This is the party ID shift in the swing states where this election will be won or lost. I have questioned many times this week whether high Dem turnout in the early/absentee voting was going to generate a Obama win. The argument being Dems may be jumping ship from Obama in higher numbers than thought, especially if you are still registered a Democrat but now consider yourself an independent.

Follow the thinking here using NV. NV early voting is showing two things: a much better showing by the GOP than 2008 AND a good sized independent showing as well. If we look at NV (which has a 90,000 registration edge of the GOP) we see them losing just under 1% of their voters, with about twice as many showing up in the GOP column (-0.8 to +1.4).

But few go from Dem to GOP. Most transition through Independent along the way, and some (like me) never leave the independent group.

Look how independents grew in the state since 2008 – by nearly 20%!

Ed points to another site that sees the same phenomena in FL:

If you look at Florida’s voter registration records you’ll see something curious. The number of registered Democrat voters has decreased by 141,000. Republicans have increased by 73,000 and Independents increased by 282,000.

That tells you a large number of Dems moved to Independent, and only a small number of Independents/Dems moved to the GOP.

As Ed notes, if you are winning the Independent vote by double digits (like Romney is) and these are the underlying changes in voter ID (and therefore turnout modelling) Romney could be heading to a big win. Remember, some people vote a new ID before they actually take it on formally. So I would assume a lot of Dems and Independents are voting to the right of the current partisan ID, which they may shed next year.

Update: Right on cue the WaPo has a story on Obama defections:

Among the most likely to defect are the usual suspects: Republicans and conservatives who crossed over to vote for Obama in 2008, along with white evangelicals and white men without college degrees. Obama already struggled with these groups, so no surprise here.

What’s perhaps most striking is who the rest of Obama’s defectors are. While much of the focus has been on how Obama has turned off white men, his defectors run the gamut.

Obama is losing 16 percent of white non-evangelical Protestants who previously supported him to Romney, but also 19 percent of white Catholics. While he has lost 21 percent of his non-college-educated white men, he has also lost 17 percent of white male college graduates and 18 percent of women who didn’t attain four-year degrees. And Obama has lost between 11 percent and 14 percent of supporters in all three age groups: under 40 years old, 40-64, and 65-plus.

Click graph to enlarge:

Update: Even CBS News is noting the growing shift to Independent (i.e., Tea Party/Libertarian/Small-Government voter):

In the swing states, the number of independent or unaffiliated voters has risen since 2008. For instance, in Florida, the number of unaffiliated voters in 2008 was 2.1 million; this year it’s 2.5 million – more than Republican and Democratic voter registration combined. North Carolina was home to 1.4 million unaffiliated voters in 2008 and 1.7 million now. Republicans there saw no gain in voter registration in the past four years and the Democrats only 100,000. Nevada boasts 40,000 more non-partisan voters this year while the Republicans lost 9,000 voters and the Democrats gained only 10,000. In Colorado, unaffiliated voters surpassed registered Republicans and Democrats. (Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin do not ask voters for party affiliation.)

The evidence behind the growing number of independents is abundant. A recent Pew Research poll from August shows a similar trend. Based on interviews with 13,000 registered voters across the country, one-third of respondents indentified as independents – an increase from 27 percent in 2004. Although personal identification does not equate to official voter registration status, the findings are clear: a large number of Americans are shifting away from political parties.

To shift away from political parties is also to shift away from political (i.e., big government) solutions. the 2010 insurgent voting bloc is still out there – and growing in strength. Pollsters beware!

Recent polls, however, show that Mr. Obama will have a difficult time replicating those numbers this time. The latest Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times poll shows that Mitt Romney is leading among independent likely voters in Virginia by a striking 21 points. He is also leading among independents in Ohio by six points and 5 points in Florida.

With 18 percent of early voters in Florida not associated with the major political parties and 40 percent in Iowa not affiliated, it’s a number that the campaigns have to worry about.

Update: Great analysis of early voting in swing states – lots of good news for the GOP. And the good Obama news seems a bit ‘stretched’…

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Where Have All The Democrats Gone?”

  1. Redteam says:

    Just to clarify something I have wondered about. How do they know who is getting the early vote, since votes aren’t counted til election day. They report votes by registered party. so anyone voting independent is not being counted for either candidate.

  2. AJStrata says:


    Yep, this is pure party ID tallies, not how much of each party is splitting to which candidate.