Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Political Roundup for August 26, 2016

The second of a series leading up to November's general election where I wrap up the political week that was with WFAE during Morning Edition, with a focus on the US Senate race in North Carolina between Richard Burr and Deborah Ross.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Many "Party Switchers" Are There in North Carolina for the 2016 Election?

Based on some entries and Twitter interactions, I've been asked "how many North Carolina registered voters have switched their party registration since the 2012 general election?"

In analyzing the active and inactive North Carolina registered voters as of July 30, 2016 through two data sets from the NC State Board of Elections, I was able to identify those voters who cast ballots in the 2012 general election and are still registered in the state: a total of a little over 4 million voters out of 6.6 million registered voters. The data for this analysis is:

Voted in 2012's General Election as:
Democrat Unaffiliated Republican Libertarian
2016 Party Registration Democrat  1,727,420  17,411  7,361  412
Unaffiliated  51,133  882,859  30,882  1,023
Republican  29,894  13,924  1,306,740  416
Libertarian  512  740  898  8,298
 1,808,959  914,934  1,345,881  10,149

Out of those 4 million voters, 1.8 million voters were registered Democratic voters and cast ballots in 2012's general election. Now, as of July 30, 2016, the breakdown of party registration among those 2012 Democrats is:

Out of the 4 million voters, 1.3 million voters were registered Republican voters who cast ballots in 2012's general election. Now, as of July 30, the party registration breakdown among those 2012 Republicans is:

Finally, nearly 915,000 voters out of the 4 million were registered unaffiliated voters who cast ballots in 2012's general election, and now, as of July 30, their party registration breakdown is:

So, out of the 4 million 7-30-16 active and inactive NC registered voters who cast ballots in 2012's general election, 152,755 voters have switched their party registrations from four years ago to now, equaling 4 percent of the total 4 million.  The most "loyal" registered party group were Republicans, followed by unaffiliated, and then registered Democrats--but all of the groups saw at least 95 percent of their 2012 voters stay with their 2012 party affiliation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Exploring NC's Registered Voter Pool

In looking at the July 30, 2016 data file from the North Carolina State Board of Elections of the 6.6 million registered voters, I began to explore the impact of the past four years of registration, as it stands on July 30.

In doing so, I isolated the pool of active and inactive (those who have not confirmed their registration or failed to vote in two federal elections, but can still cast a ballot) voters into two groups: those who have registration dates up to, and including, 2012, and those who registered since January 1, 2013.

In the July 30 voter pool, 5.4 million voters, or 81 percent of the total pool, were registered before or during 2012, with 1.2 million, or 18 percent, registered since the beginning of 2013.  This does not include those voters who have been removed for various reasons (death, etc.), who are temporary registered, or removed for other reasons (see this FAQ from the NCSBE for more information).

One area of interest that I have is the impact of the changing generation cohorts within the registered voter pool. State-wide, the total voter pool has a plurality of Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 to 1965), at 34 percent, with Millennial voters (those born after 1981) at 29 percent, Generation Xers (born between 1966 and 1980), at a quarter, and those of the Silent Generation (born before 1945) at 12 percent.

For those NC voters who registered before and then after 2012, the generational impact is quite striking.

Taking the pre- & post-2012 registration groups, I then analyzed the party registrations for the current pool of NC voters:

The rise of the 'unaffiliated' voter in North Carolina has been significant, but this indication of the post-2012 registration division by party is most notable. Here's the 2013-2016 (as of July 30, 2016) party registration data:

Next, I analyzed the two registration groups by their racial identification:

The notable rise of post-2012 "all others & unknown," and the declines in 'white' and 'black' voter registration, will most likely continue to diversify the North Carolina electorate. This diversification will also be due to the rise of the Hispanic-Latino voter:

Finally, I isolated the Millennial Generation and explored their party registration within the pre- and post-2012 registration groups:

With one-third of Millennial voters registered since 2013, the number of unaffiliated voters is 45 percent of the recent registrants, with registered Republicans slipping below a quarter of the Millennial voters since 2013.

With two more months of voter registration (barring a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States regarding NC's election law overhaul), estimates should put the voter registration pool (i.e., the eligible voters to cast ballots in November) at somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.8 million. Further analysis to see which of these voters will actually show up in November, but the continuing change in North Carolina's voter pool will be one to watch leading up to November.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Comparing NC's Current Registered Voter Pool to November 2012 and March 2016 Registration Figures

In reviewing some figures of the voter registration pool (only active & inactive voters) in North Carolina, I did some 'glances back' at two key points in the data files: first, the differences of where NC voter registration stands now compared to the November 2012 presidential election, along with where the current voter pool stands in comparison to this year's March presidential primary election.

In comparing the NC voter pool to the general election four years ago, there are some pretty significant trends to observe.

In terms of raw numbers, registered Democratic voters have seen the largest decline in affiliation, with a loss of over 200,000 voters claiming the party's registration. Registered Republicans saw a 28,000 plus decline, but the most significant increase was among (not surprising) registered unaffiliated voters, with an increase of over 244,000 voters. If one was to look at the percentage changes, registered Libertarians show a dramatic 49 percent increase, but they went from a little under 20,000 registered voters four years ago to nearly 29,000 voters as of August 20, 2016. 

The other considerable change, beyond the fact that the NC registered voter pool is a little over where the pool numbers stood in November (and we still have less than three months to go, so we will see a slightly larger pool), the growth in both 'other' racial groups and especially among Hispanic/Latino voters (going from 113,000 voters in November 2012 to 150,000 voters on August 20, 2016). 

In looking at the differences from the March 2016 presidential primary in the state to August 20, all areas of NC registered voters have seen increases, but the notably increases (in raw numbers and percentages) continue to be among registered unaffiliated voters, 'other' racial groups, and Hispanic/Latino voters. 

A voter pool of 6.6 million plus is currently where North Carolina stands, and if the ground game operations of both parties kick in with full energy (requiring a fully developed field office and operations), we may see a voter pool of potentially 6.8 to 6.9 million registered voters in the Old North State. Of course, from there, it's a critical link to then get those voters out the pools through GOTV (get out the vote) operations. But you have to have the pool filled before you can dive in and begin the real contest.

Update on 8/21/16 at 4:39 PM: updated information in first sentence to indicate that these are 'active & inactive' voter comparisons. Those not in the voter pool are those with classifications of denied, removed, or temporary.