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Friday, April 23, 2021

Young, college-educated Americans are flooding Democratic registration lists

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With two weeks to go before Election Day, in a public poll released Tuesday, President Trump’s favorability rating hit a record low.

But in the private world of Republican data analysts, an interesting but overlooked trend has emerged over the last year.

At least in some parts of the country, Republicans and independents who lean toward the party have been registering as Democrats at an increased rate.

And the latest data show that this trend is not slowing. In New Hampshire, which leans Democratic, Republicans outnumber Democrats by 11,179, over 33 percent to 21.3 percent, after recording net gains of 31,654 voters in 2016. The number of such registered voters in Pennsylvania has risen by more than 10,000, and the state’s Republican governor is leading a legislative push to impose harsh new voter ID laws.

Those states are part of a nationwide increase in voter registration over the last year, with the most noticeable change occurring among younger, college-educated Americans — an electorate that tends to vote Democratic.

The St. Louis Public Library, which keeps a list of voter registration numbers, recorded a 10 percent increase in registered voters between October 2017 and October 2018. The number of students, full-time working adults and inactive voters increased 6 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents registered increased between 1 and 5 percent, the library reported. In all, registered voters were up by 82,349.

Democrats are also winning more midterm elections, per the nonpartisan Center for American Progress, which has tracked ballot-by-ballot vote shifts since 2010.

“Those who are voting for Democrats in blue states with good Republican candidates tend to be Democratic voters who have not voted before,” said Daniel Tokaji, a voting expert at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. He added that the strategies of Democratic candidates for governor in Virginia and New Jersey and of Democrats in New Jersey’s statehouse were designed to induce new Democrats to register and vote.

In Virginia, more than 30,000 people registered as Democrats, largely women and younger adults, in the run-up to its Democrat-controlled gubernatorial elections, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. North Carolina also experienced a spike in voter registration as Democrats ran an aggressive gubernatorial campaign, the newspaper found.

And then there’s the record-breaking battle for the House of Representatives in Georgia, which saw a surge in newly registered Democrats as well as a move toward renewed Democratic control in Florida’s congressional delegation.

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