Liberals may think they have something to cheer about today. A new study in Monday’s Inky details how Pennsylvania, in terms of registration, has become decidedly more Democratic since 2002. We think, maybe not. Here’s some crunching of what should be the most crushing numbers for the state’s conservatives:
The Democratic Party has grown by 550,000 members to 4.3 million voters.
The Republican Party has shrunk by 103,000 to 3.1 million voters.
Philadelphia Democratic voters have grown by 8 percent, an additional 74,000 voters – not to mention that Democrats outnumber Republicans within the city by 6-to-1.
In Montgomery County, Republicans had a voter-edge in 2002. Democrats now have 82,000 more voters than Republicans within the suburban county.
And, the five-county Philadelphia area has gained 284,000 overall Dems since 2002.
That’s all well and good, but we’ve found a few holes in the jubilation. Namely, the 2008 presidential primary. If you’ll remember, the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton reached a boiling point in Pennsylvania, and voters were given about six weeks between our vote and the vote before us. Between March 4 and March 11, Clinton and Obama basically split electoral delegates in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming and Mississippi, with Clinton taking 205 and Obama taking 210. Our presidential primary, next, didn’t come until April 22nd.
Between the enormous Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, some GOP voters and independents switching affiliation in order to become a part of history and Rush Limbaugh’s anti-democratic/American order for his listeners to switch parties and vote for Hillary Clinton (to cynically further the Democratic primary and cause more infighting, which he believed would have caused more voters to lose faith in the Democratic Party), voting was huge (2,336,480 Democratic primary voters). And there was plenty of time to make it huge, especially since McCain already had the Republican primary neatly wrapped with a baby-blue bow.
Then, like now, the Republican race is extremely uncompetitive, while the Democratic race is a toss-up. And while voters remain uninterested, there's at least more interest in the lefties (both for governor and the Senate), even if their vote remains up in the air. The study also fails to explain why, in spite of the gigantic number advantage, Pat Toomey still has commanding leads over both Specter and Sestak.
So, yeah, the GOP may have lost some members, but the numbers game isn’t a tell-all by any means. It’s more likely that many of the voters who switched affiliation for 2008 and haven’t switched back are independents, rather than Democrats. It’s also likely many of the young voters and others who registered for the first time ever in 2008 may sit this season out, as midterms are historically less-attended. And, this year, neither Barack Obama, hope nor change is on the ballot.
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