Sunday, April 1, 2018

April's Analysis of North Carolina Registered Voter Pool

While April 1 lands on a Sunday, the latest North Carolina State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement data, posted on Saturday, March 31, gives information about the 6.9 million registered voters in the state.

First, the state's political party registration among these voters breaks down as 38 percent registered Democrat, 31 percent registered unaffiliated, 30 percent registered Republican, 1 percent registered Libertarian, and 0.000004 percent (or, 3 voters) who have registered with the recently approved Green Party in the Old North State.

Among the five different generational cohorts, the party registration continues to demonstrate a trend among younger voters to opt to registered unaffiliated:

Those voters under the age of 37 (Millennials, who are 22-37 years old, and Generation Z, who are 18-21 years old), account for 32.3 percent of the voter pool, while Baby Boomers, at 31.2 percent, are the second largest generational cohort (those voters between the ages of 54 and 73 years old).

Racially, North Carolina's voter pool is 69 percent white, with the remainder as persons of color:

Ethnically, North Carolina's voter pool breaks down as only 3 percent of voters self-identifying as Hispanic/Latino:

The nearly 200,000 Hispanic/Latino voters, no matter the race, are registered predominately either Democratic or unaffiliated, with only 14 percent as Republican.

In looking at the racial and ethnic composition of North Carolina's registered voters, one can take the various categories of self-reported race (white, black/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Other race, Multi-racial, and Unknown/Unreported) and ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino, non-Hispanic/Latino, and Unknown/Unreported) and classify them into groups. The following are the various classifications, with the corresponding party registration for each group:

Registered Democrat Registered Unaffiliated Registered Republican Registered Libertarian Registered Green Total % of Total
White Non-Hispanic‎/Latino           1,030,522         1,310,227          1,659,218             22,051                    2         4,022,020 58%
Hispanic/Latino All Races                 77,765               76,495                26,402               1,824                   -              182,486 3%
Black‎/African-American Non-Hispanic‎/Latino              935,401             181,641                29,537               2,355                   -           1,148,934 17%
Asian Non-Hispanic‎/Latino                 18,252               30,165                  8,939                   346                   -                 57,702 1%
Native American Non-Hispanic‎/Latino                 27,461               13,006                  7,147                   165                   -                 47,779 1%
Other race Non-Hispanic‎/Latino                 30,647               35,600                15,896                   641                   -                 82,784 1%
Multi-racial Non-Hispanic‎/Latino                   9,253                  8,450                  2,402                   270                   -                 20,375 0%
White Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity              155,709             263,729             281,759               5,362                    1            706,560 10%
Black Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity              297,811               66,018                  7,616                   733                   -              372,178 5%
Asian Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity                   8,753               14,661                  4,364                   129                   -                 27,907 0%
Native American Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity                   3,864                  2,663                  1,584                     55                   -                   8,166 0%
All other races Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity                   6,881                  8,101                  2,500                   161                   -                 17,643 0%
Multi-racial Unknown‎/Unreported Ethnicity                   6,956                  5,499                  1,560                   147                   -                 14,162 0%
Unknown‎/Unreported Race & Not Hispanic‎/Latino                   5,203                  6,062                  3,153                     65                   -                 14,483 0%
Unknown‎/Unreported race & ethnicity                 42,140             112,513                25,827                   889                   -              181,369 3%
Total           2,656,618         2,134,830          2,077,904             35,193                    3         6,904,548

With a little over 4 million registered voters, white non-Hispanic voters make up 58 percent of the voter pool, with 41 percent registered as Republicans, 33 percent as unaffiliated, and 26 percent as Democrats. 

While it may be somewhat difficult to read, here are the party registration percentages for each of the above categories:

Finally, the regionalism of the state's registered voter pool breaks down as majority urban county voter:

Nearly a quarter of North Carolina's voters reside in suburban counties, which are predominately Republican in registration. Rural counties, with a significant portion of voters who are older (Baby Boomers and Greatest/Silent generations are 47 percent of rural voters) skews Democratic in registration, but tend to vote Republican.

Since the beginning of 2018, January and February both saw over 26,000 new voters added to the registration pool each month, while March saw over 29,000 new voters registered. For the first three months of 2018, a significant majority (57 percent) of new voters registering were either Millennials or Generation Z. 

The noticeable spike in Generation Z (18-21 year olds) could be attributable to the news and activism of youth. It will be critical to watch this trend over the next several months to see if this pattern of young voters registering will continue. 

By party, the past three months have seen unaffiliated voters drive the registrations:

The slight tick down of Republican registrations since the beginning of the year should be something to watch as well, along with registration for the newly approved Green Party. One of the important aspects of this new party is that registered Green voters will only be able to vote in their party's primary elections in the future, unlike unaffiliated voters. That will be interesting to watch play out over time, along with what kind of generational dynamic is at play with Green Party membership.

I will continue to track these dynamics at the beginning of each month.