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. …