Small Dem Gains, Republicans Hang On, Third Party Moves, Libertarian Shocker, Independents No Longer Cool
In the run up to the 2016 general election this November, inevitably, the voter registration push ensues. This year, patterns of change are not typical to most cycles.
Democrats and Republicans had been on a generally descending path concerning share of the total registered voters. Although both parties slid, the Democrats slid more than the Republicans in overall share. Democrats used to have over 50% of the registrations. 2008 was the last time that was true. At the start of 2016, Democrats had 46% of the share.
Republicans have never had a majority of registrations. Back in November of 2008, their share was 31.7%. Coming in to 2016, they stood basically at 31% even.
People with no party (DTS) the so called Independents, have been on a near two decade run of increased share of the registered voters pie. With 19.3% share at the beginning of the year, talk of independents having a full fifth of the registrations seemed plausible.
Third parties have slowly incremented up in registration shares over time the pace at times could be described as glacial. Sitting at 3.3% to start the year was only a 0.6% increase from 2008.
The Registration Race of 2016
Using the report just days before the closing of the registration books for 2016, the results are interesting. Democrats have gained a one half of one percent share of the registrants overall. This is a reversal of a previous trend.
Republicans continued their slow slide. The other interesting change is that
DTS registrations lost share (-0.78%) in the year, sliding to 18%. The other interesting turn is third parties gained over a quarter of one percent (+0.28%) in nine months alone. The election of 2016 was one of the most energized primary seasons since 1976. Neither party had an incumbent or Vice President running. Both major parties had populist candidates (Sanders & Trump) that activated non-primary voters into action. My speculation for the DTS drop off is disaffected voters, particularly Sanders supporters came back from Independent status to vote in the primary for the Senator.
The Surge Shown In One Graph
So what does it take to move the numbers so quickly in nine months? Beating the average growth and in a big fashion. This chart shows the average growth of all registered voters in 2016 in New Mexico. New Mexico now has 5.05% more registered voters than it did in January of 2016. If you beat this average, your share of the overall pie grows, if you don’t, it shrinks. It is that simple. I show two time periods here, late August and late September and their rate of increase over 01/2016.
Every segment of registration categories gained by raw voters by September, but notice the DTS line. Their numbers actually fell from January to August of 2016. Only a late surge got them positive, and still well below the state average. Republicans stayed with the average growth but did not surge at all at the end, bringing them just under the line. Democrats beat the average by almost a percent. This is why they reversed their trend.
Other parties category increased over 12% more than doubling the average rate of increase. Other includes anything that is not Dem, Rep, or DTS. Wondering if the Gary Johnson or Jill Stein campaigns were having an effect on their parties, I acquired breakdowns from the Other column for their parties specifically. The Green party registrations are up over 8% from January. While that is good news in one way, it lags the overall growth of other parties.
The big story is the Libertarians growing almost 24% in one year. If gaining 19.5% was not enough by August they added another 5% to that in one month! This is the bulk of the Other party lunge. True, it is easier to get larger percentage increases when you have fewer voter to start with, but it also means you typically have fewer people doing the work. As a result, the Libertarian movement this year is none short of phenomenal.
Requests for raw data can be obtained from SC Consulting. Feel free to contact us.