Democracy N.C. report: More unaffiliated registered voters since 2008

More than one quarter of North Carolina’s registered voters are unaffiliated — up from 22 percent in 2008 (and just 8 percent in 1993), the Asheville Citizen-Times’ Jon Ostendorf reports. The figure comes from a recent study by Democracy North Carolina (for the full report, click here):

From Democracy North Carolina

North Carolina Voters: Less White, More Independent

Despite North Carolina’s continued population growth, the major political parties are losing thousands of members from their peak five years ago while the number of unaffiliated voters is climbing higher for all ages and races.

Overall, after accounting for deaths, moves and party switches, the number of registered voters has increased by 210,000 since November 2008 to a total of 6,475,000 in November 2013, but there are 102,800 fewer Democrats and 12,400 fewer Republicans. The net gain of 306,500 Unaffiliated voters accounts for all the growth in registrations over the past five years.

The rapid growth of Unaffiliated voters indicates people are not attracted to either major party, said Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina, the election reform group that compiled the data from State Board of Elections records. “More North Carolinians, especially new residents and young voters, are refusing to embrace or perhaps even understand a party’s philosophy. That will make it harder for the parties to mobilize voters as their core supporters decline, particularly in a non-presidential year like 2014.”

Unaffiliated voters are now 26 percent of all registered voters, up from 22 percent five years ago and just 8 percent in 1993. Democrats made up 60 percent of North Carolina voters twenty years ago, but their share of the electorate has fallen to 43 percent while Republicans’ share has remained a fairly stable 31 percent .

In addition to party alignment, the racial make-up of North Carolina voters continues to change. The number of white voters has actually declined by 1,300 in the past five years. Whites now make up 71 percent of all registered voters, compared to 73 percent in 2008 and 81 percent twenty years ago.

Meanwhile, African-American registered voters increased by 99,200 and are now 23 percent of the state’s electorate, up from 22 percent in 2008 and 18 percent in 1993.

Self-identified Hispanic or Latino voters (who may be of any race) are still less than 2 percent of all voters, but their number has nearly doubled over the past five years to 116,500.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times

The Democratic Party is the biggest loser as North Carolina’s voters become more independent in a growing electorate, according to a political watchdog group’s study.

The Republican Party isn’t making great gains, either, though it has not lost as many members, the study found.

The study comes as North Carolina heads into what is expected to be a long election season with GOP-controlled legislature working to stay in power.

Republicans took control of state government, from the governor’s office to the General Assembly, last year despite North Carolina having more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Left-leaning group Democracy North Carolina says the number of registered voters increased by 210,000 since November 2008 to a total of 6.4 million. There are 102,800 fewer Democrats and 12,400 fewer Republicans.

The gain of 306,500 unaffiliated voters accounts for all the growth in registrations over the past five years, the group said.

Bob Hall, the group’s executive director, said the growth in unaffiliated voters could mean trouble for the parties. …

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About Margaret Williams
Managing Editor Margaret Williams has been at Xpress since 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987.

12 thoughts on “Democracy N.C. report: More unaffiliated registered voters since 2008

  1. Dionysis

    So who is surprised? When both political parties, especially at the national level, are (correctly) seen as the political version of ‘good cop, bad cop’, all owned by the same oligarchs, operating within a thoroughly corrupt and bought-and-paid for fixed political system, people walk away.

    A constitutional amendment via the state legislature route outlined in the Fifth Amendment, neutralizing the disgraceful Citizens United court ruling is one way to regain some semblence of a representative democracy. Then perhaps real representation could follow.

  2. D. Dial

    “So who is surprised? ” ~ Dio

    Not me,…… extremely disappointed after the woeful “leadership” exhibited by several of the local Democrats (whom I voted for.)

    Note to “leaders” handwringing at evil NCLEG and before that handwringing & inability to do anything due to “home rule,” is not leadership.

    • bsummers

      Davyne: Exactly, without generalities, would you have City Council do in the face of the assault on Asheville by Rep. Moffitt and others? Precisely what would constitute “leadership” in your estimation? Do you have specifics, or is this just another beat of the drum?

  3. D. Dial

    Barry, the thread isn’t about me. You continual stalking of me is your problem, not mine.

    • bsummers

      Stalking is an inflammatory word. I asked you to elaborate on your comment, and provide specifics. It takes a peculiar viewpoint to characterize a request to talk more, as some sort of persecution.

      The fact that you cannot provide any suggestions on what Council could do differently in the face of the legislative assault on Asheville, and instead fall back into persecution mode, is all the answer we need.

  4. D. Dial

    Barry, why not address the information in the article?

    The fact that you choose to continue to stalk my comments, vs. addressing the jist of the article is all the information needed to show your obsession with me.

    I have a right to my opinion about our leadership….and from the article’s pov, I am not alone.

    • bsummers

      Davyne, why not address the real reasons you spin so many political news stories into an opportunity to attack Asheville’s City Council? Your continual drum-beating goes back to the day they refused to turn over URTV to you and Alan Rosenthal. This history, and the fact that you have voiced support for Tim Moffitt’s actions, leads me to cast a skeptical eye on your current criticism of City Council’s “leadership”.

      “I have a right to my opinion about our leadership….and from the article’s pov, I am not alone.”

      That’s an absurd extrapolation. The fact that statewide support for Democrats is slipping, (while support for Republicans is also slipping) does not translate into agreement with your hatred of Asheville’s leaders. The recent local elections disprove this easily. The GOP didn’t even bother to field any candidates for Mayor or City Council, and the County Commission remains Democratic despite gerrymandering and district elections forced on us by Raleigh.

      You have a right to your opinion, but this does not exclude you from someone critiquing your argument. In my view, you are simply one of the more vocal Asheville-haters who are taking advantage of the assault from Raleigh to work out your own vendettas against the City.

    • bsummers

      There’s nothing in the article about lack of support for Asheville’s City Council, but for some reason, that is what you have spun this article to be about.

      Engaging in debate about political issues is not “stalking”. You are treading a dangerous line making that sort of accusation.

  5. scotty_mack

    OK Barry, how about how the council now belongs to the Mckibbon group and Van Winkle law firm? How about how they sold public land to private developers? How about how they want to ‘increase property values’ downtown, which only helps what, three or four landowners while pushing lots of people out of jobs when their old businesses close due to rent increases? Defending us from ALEC to sell us to real estate moguls ain’t that big of a difference. The GOP didn’t need to run a mayoral candidate cause the Dems are more useful to big business here. GOP is for big business, Dems are for big business, no one is for the working folks. I’m glad more people are waking up and shucking these two lies of political parties. It’s all kayfabe.

    • bsummers

      I don’t disagree, Scotty. My history of activism in this town is replete with examples of going after City Council on development issues. I expect that to continue.

      If I appear to be a CC booster, it’s simply a reaction to the assault not just against Asheville, but against municipalities across the State. I believe that a lot of what we see locally that appears to be about local issues is really a smoke screen for attacking the elected officials that are currently on the front line of that assault.

      Here is where we can make a difference, and a lot of the the rest of NC is watching to see what happens here. For example, did you notice that a month or two ago, Tim Moffitt casually stated his belief that the State owns all municipally-run enterprise fund operations, like water, sewer, airports, transit systems, parking etc., not just in Asheville, but every city or town in NC? The State owns all that infrastructure, outright. Certain people locally applauded that outrageous statement. Me, I think they need to be called out for it.

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