I suspect everyone would agree interest in the election this year is ahead of last year, which was mostly a municipal election year in Pennsylvania. Statewide races for governor and senator are big factors of course, but how much more interest? To look into that I parsed some voter registration stats the state makes available. Here is the change in new voter registrations by county in Pennsylvania comparing the 4 weeks before the registration deadline in 2010 (which was earlier this month) with a similar 4 week period before the registration deadline in the fall of 2009. The average increase statewide was 115% more new registrations in 2010 vs. 2009. The biggest increases by county looked like this:
I've put a full list of counties broken out like this onto google docs here. Not on this chart, but at the other extreme there are 5 counties that actually saw a decrease in registration in 2010 compared to 2009. Most were small places. Cameron County had only 7 new registrations over the month before the registration deadline, down from 9 a year earlier. Union County had the biggest percentage decline with only 108 new registrations, down from 152 the year earlier. Forest County had the fewest new registrations at 4, but that was the same as a year earlier.
Centre County = State College and one presumes a lot of college students. Some other college impacts in there I am sure, but Philly and Allegheny both showing increased voter registration far ahead the statewide average.
Begs the obvious question of who is registering by party. Dems? Reps? Libertarians? Maybe the Constitution Party is making a comeback? So here is the breakout of these new registrants in Allegheny County in 2010 in the 4 weeks leading up to the registration deadline.