Friday, October 29, 2010

Pregame Politics

Election day 4 days away?  Might as well go with the flow until then.

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:

Largest % Increases in Voter Registration by PA County - 2010 (month before registration deadline) vs 2009

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.

New Voter Registration by Party - Allegheny County - Last 4 weeks before registration deadline 2010
Which I thought was a bit odd with more "Other" than Republican registrants.  Is that normal?  There are always a lot more 'other' registrations than people think which I suspect are folks being registered via motor-votor or other sources and are just not politically active people.  It's not normally reflective of some big group of neo-independent voters.  But to compare I looked at 2009 to see the breakout in registration by party.  You get this:

New Voter Registration by Party - Allegheny County - All of 2009
So who are all these new "Other" registrants?  The Republican registration % is nearly identical in both years..  But it looks like the new "other" registrants are pulling from Democrats more than Republicans.  Might be the bigger story of the political season?  Reliable 1% Libertarian registration though.


Anonymous DBR96A said...

"Other" could be those who have realized in the last two to four years that neither established political party has been worth a damn these days.

Friday, October 29, 2010 6:15:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

"The Rent is too Damn High" party?

Friday, October 29, 2010 6:42:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Almost all the "other" have to be people registering as independents. This would seem, at least to me, to show the struggles of the Democrat Party in the current climate. Allegheny Co has always been a Democrat stronghold yet the people are not joining the party in the same numbers. Indeed, the drop in Dem numbers, 10%, is exactly the same as the rise in others, 10%.

The problem for the Dems is amplified by the fact that people are giving up their right to vote in primaries by registering independent for in Pa we have closed primaries.

Conclusion, people are fed up with the whole system.

Friday, October 29, 2010 9:06:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I'd read it the same way as the Wiz. The Republicans are not getting an increase from this as the people registering are fed-up with much more than the Democrats. I'm guessing the Republicans will win, ignore that, and step into a bear-trap head first. I may be surprised, I suppose.

Also, I have not seen anybody trying to register people to vote in Oakland. This may be because I'm wandering down Forbes less and may be because it's only a midterm election. But, you'd think Sestak would want to try something along those lines.

Friday, October 29, 2010 1:17:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

My mother was born and raised in Cameron Co. I get the Cameron Co Echo every week. Talk about the land that time forgot. It has less than 7000 people...thats people not just registered voters. And it has been losing population for decades. They also had the highest unemployment in the state, around 16% if I remember correctly.

They have no fast food places in the whole county other than a Burger King that is actually a small part of a gas station. No Micky D's, no Pizza hut, no Wendy's, no Walmart. But they have a local pizza shop that won the Best in the US at a contest in Florida!

Friday, October 29, 2010 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger illyrias said...

The optimist in me says that your "others" are at least partly accounted for by the significant influx of population from neighboring states registering for a driver's license and to vote at the same time.
I've got a lot of new neighbors.

Monday, November 01, 2010 1:07:00 PM  

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