Donald Trump has run an unconventional campaign. And part of that departure from convention has been the use of controversial rhetoric that popularly has been thought to energize unregistered Democratic voters, thus making it more difficult for him to carry critical swing states and get elected.
Or has he ? To best evaluate this assumption, JMC Analytics and Polling first performed a voter registration analysis on June 3 and determined (using available voter registration data as of May 31) that there was not an appreciable spike in Democratic voter registration since January 1, and that Republicans were signing up more new registrants in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania than the Democrats were (many states do NOT disclose the race of the voter, so party is the closest available demographic variable that can be used). That analysis was revisited in September, and little changed then either.
Now that early voting is underway in many states (and the election is just over two weeks away), JMC has updated (where available) partisan voter registration data as of today to determine whether there has been a late Democratic surge. This late revisiting of the issue is important “due diligence” from an analytical perspective, as (at the time this article is being written), 5.7 million early votes have already been cast.
From our analysis of partisan voter registration data, what we see is almost a carbon copy of where we were at the end of May (and mid September, for that matter). As such, as of October 22, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have seen more Republicans than Democrats register since January 1. Below are more specific summary statistics:
(1) There are 10 swing states worth 112 Electoral votes which (with the exception of North Carolina) were all carried by Barack Obama in 2012. In May, 610K more Democrats, 617K more Republicans, and 121K LESS Independents were registered to vote compared to January 1. Nearly five months later, Democrats out registered Republicans 1076 to 1038K (with 579K more Independents). In other words, the shift towards the Democrats was miniscule – a 42K voter swing out of a 44 million voter base/denominator, or 0.09%. And half of that “gain” came from the last month alone – when Democrats typically are at their peak with registering new voters;
(2a) There are six non-swing states worth 108 Electoral votes which (with the exception of Alaska and Louisiana) were all carried by Barack Obama in 2012. In May, 683K more Democrats, 208K more Republicans, and 102K LESS Independents were registered to vote compared to January 1. Nearly five months later, Democrats out registered Republicans 944 to 247K (51K MORE Independents), or a shift towards the Democrats of 224K voters out of 38 million voters, or an impact in those non-swing states of 0.59%;
(2b) Looks can be deceiving with regards to the numbers for the “non swing states”, however: nearly all of that gain came from California alone, which, in fact, has been a Democratic success story this year in several ways. If California is excluded from the “non swing states”, Democrats only out registered Republicans by 5K in May, and by August, that 5K advantage (out of 20 million voters) only inched up to a 7K advantage (or an overall electoral impact of 0.04%).
Below are the current (and May) summary numbers: