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O Reagan, Where Art Thou? Republican Registration Craters in California

AP Photo/Doug Mills
AP Photo/Doug Mills

The number of registered Republican voters in California has dropped 8% since 2012, according to a report issued by Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday.

400,000 fewer voters now identify as Republicans; roughly 4.76 million voters called themselves members of the GOP in 2016, as opposed to 5.17 million in February 2012, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Democrats have seen a smaller decline, numbering roughly 7.44 million voters, comprising 43.1% of the electorate, as opposed to 43.6% in 2012 (compared to the Republicans’ roughly 27.6%). Only the number of independents grew during the four-year period, climbing from 21% of the electorate to 24%.

Eric McGhee, an elections researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California, told the Los Angeles Times:

The Democratic share of registrants has been flat, the independent share has been climbing fast, and the Republican share has been sinking just as fast. New, young registrants are heavily independent and to a lesser extent Democratic, while elderly people are much more likely to be Republican. Since people tend to stick with their party registration even if their politics change, this means we should expect these registration trends to continue.

The number of unaffiliated voters has risen steadily since 2004, when 16% of voters described themselves as independents. That percentage climbed to almost 20% in 2008, then 21% in 2012–and, as the report states, 24% in 2016.

GOP political strategist Mike Madrid told the Times, “More Californians are consciously saying no party represents my views, but are saying if they have to choose, then they’ll choose Democrats.”

Since 2012, the number of people registered to vote in California increased by roughly 231,000, according to Reuters.


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