Monday, April 18, 2016

Parsing Pennsylvania's Primary (or Nate Silver N'at)

Honestly this is mostly a post to prove I can still make a map.  But with the New York primary almost underway, all eyes will focus on the Pennsylvania primary. Much as they did 8 years ago; for at least a week that is.  Lots of talk of new voters registering this cycle, or voters switching registration to vote for one candidate or another.  How big a deal is either the party switching, or new registrations, in Pennsylvania?  The office of the Pennsylvania Secretary of State puts out lots of information to feed your inner Nate Silver.  Here is my take.

One topic I've seen alluded to is straight up party switching among people already registered.  This matters for Pennsylvania's closed primary. This is a map I concocted of the ratio of voters switching into the Republican and Democratic parties cumulatively since the beginning of 2016 (through April 3, and note the deadline to register for the primary election was March 28). 

It does give a fairly stark picture of switching into the Republican party.  Even Allegheny County has more folks switching to R than D, despite the large excess of registered D's there. 

That may be a bit misleading if inferred to be a new phenomenon.  Among already registered voters, party switching typical has this pattern or more switching to R than to D.  Yet how is it Pennsylvania has roughly million more registered Democrats than Republicans, a gap that is expanding over the years, not contracting?  The map above is only reflecting data of party switching among ready-registered voters who changed their party from something else to Democratic or from something else to Republican.   A similar map showing the ratio of new registrations is below. This depicts the ratio of new registrations as Democrats as percentage of total (note the total is among those registering as D or R, so not reflecting registrations other parties, or to no party.)

That gets closer to both the current political landscape of the state, and trends for the future.  Despite the first map showing a lot more re-registrations to Republican, the overall ratio of registrations over the same period is majority Democratic.  While there is a lot of Red in this map, the most populat counties in the state are pretty much all blue.

Make of it what you want.  Talk of Reagan Democrats and silent majorities I leave to the purely political pundits.  The total number of party switching into a major party (D or R, the first map) added up to under 75 thousand voters this year.  For a state with with over 8 million registered voters, you are really talking ~1%, much of which you would have expected no matter who was running this year.  Maybe this does not capture trends late in 2015, but I doubt it would make much of a difference.

5 Comments:

Anonymous DBR96A said...

The I-80 corridor from Centre County to Columbia County says, "James Carville is stupid."

Monday, April 25, 2016 7:20:00 AM  
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016 1:31:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

All the 'party switching' talk was just the media looking for a story where there was none.
The D party continues to grow because young, first timers usually go D then change to R as they age. The old adage still rings true.

Another issue is the influx of young techies into the 'burgh and SE Pa as tech jobs grow. Many of these are younger types recently out of college, which again are almost always Ds.

But the biggie out east is the large number of people fleeing NJ and NY high taxes. But what confuses me is that liberals always flee the high tax. high regs but take the same "progressive" ideology with them. Look at California/Colorado.....lots of Ca people fled to Co but now Co is a liberal state.

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Monday, August 08, 2016 10:28:00 PM  

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