The easiest way to measure the overall partisan makeup of the country is to ask people. Many pollsters do this with regularity. Rasmussen does this on a monthly basis with a massive sample. Here are some of those numbers:
DATE YEAR: R% D% I% Diff%Nov 2004: 37.1 38.6 24.3 -1.6Nov 2006: 31.4 37.5 31.2 -6.1Nov 2007: 32.5 37.4 30.2 -4.9
Jan 2008: 33.1 38.7 28.2 -5.6Feb 2008: 31.8 41.5 26.7 -9.7Mar 2008: 32.1 41.1 26.8 -9.1Apr 2008: 31.4 41.4 27.2 -10.0May 2008: 31.6 41.7 26.6 -10.1Jun 2008: 31.5 41.0 27.5 -9.5
From 2004 to 2006, Rs disappeared by Ds stayed about the same. Since 2006, Rs have stayed about the same but Ds have gained. Overall, we have moved from close to parity to a Dem lead of 10 points. But these are national numbers, and we all know that states are what matters.
So I was happy to see someone took the time to find voter registration numbers on a state-by-state basis:
Let’s start with the bad news. In the pivotal swing state that Sen. Obama is supposedly doing poor in (Pennsylvania), Democrats have moved from a 500,000 person advantage to a 1,000,000 person advantage. Kerry won by 144,000. Obama must do significantly worse among Democrats to lose the state.
This data also helps explain how *Iowa *went from swing to probably uncontested from 2004 to 2008. Bush won by 10,000 votes when there was a 4,000 person R advantage. Now there is a 90,000 person D advantage. Ouch.
There is some other rather harsh news in Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado.
The bright spots are where Rs have lost only minimal ground. In Florida, a loss of net 20,000 voters is insignificant and quite surprising considering the state just legalized voting for ex-felons. As the country has shifted D, FL has not followed. With its size and growth rate, that’s very good news for the GOP over the next decade.
In Arizona, the changes were also small compared to the state. And with the impressive registration efforts of legal immigrants going on in Southwestern states, it’s good news that the GOP is not losing party registration ground.
New Mexico posted a net gain for the GOP by an insignificant margin. The problem here remains that Democrats hold a 190,000 person edge in a state of 1,000,000 people (19% difference). That’s a huge advantage to start with, but at least it did not get any worse.
And in my current home of North Carolina, there is similar news. It is the only state to see a decent increase in the number of Rs but the Ds swamped that increase and moved their margin up to an impressive 700,000 person advantage. That’s big (11% difference). And it shows a stop in the slow alignment of former Southern “conservative” Democrats away from the Ds.
Overall, it is mostly bad news. This isn’t surprising given the national numbers. There are spots of hope. But at some point, the GOP will have to wake up and start on the boring work of going door-to-door and winning converts. And the optimistic among us can hope this is the D’s peak and that all things that go up, must come down.