Party poo: Independent voter registrations rise as parties fall | Cronkite News
WASHINGTON – Arizona’s main political parties have continued to lose voters since the November election, with strident partisanship “choking off” voters and pushing them to register as independents, analysts said.
The most recent figures from the Arizona Secretary of State’s office show that the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties have all registered a drop in registrations from the general election through the end of June, while unaffiliated voters have made solid gains.
While losses to political parties are expected after an election, political experts have agreed, the change in Arizona is unexpected, even for a state that typically has a significant number of Independents.
“The Democratic and Republican parties are doing a remarkable job of discouraging potential voters,” said Jason Rose, Republican political consultant. “The Democratic Party is now Bernie Sanders’ party, and we know who the face of the Republican Party is. “
The state’s Republican and Democratic parties did not respond to requests for comment on the registration changes.
The Republicans remained the largest party in the state with 1,499,862 registered voters at the end of June, but this represents a drop of 8,916 voters from the November election. Democrats lost 3,784 voters to fall to 1,374,540 in June.
“It’s hard to imagine when both parties, Democrats and Republicans, will be extremely popular,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections. “There is simply a general distrust of institutions, including official political parties. “
The Libertarian Party experienced the largest drop proportionally, a decrease of 2.7%, as it lost 1,021 voters to 37,364 members.
As parties bled membership, the number of unaffiliated voters has increased by 52,941 since November.
“Republicans are moving more to the right, Democrats moving more to the left and there is no room for the middle people,” said Mike Noble, chief research officer for OH Predictive Insights. So they choose not to identify with either party, he said.
Experts said the change is not unique to Arizona.
“There is a national and state trend towards more independents when it comes to party membership,” Rose said.
Chad Campbell, senior vice president of Strategies 360 in Arizona, said the rise of independents is an ongoing trend that is “primarily a function of DC … and the inability to get things done” in Washington.
Arizona’s registration numbers are “really a reflection of the ever-changing mood of voters and the frustration with traditional partisan politics,” Campbell said.
Other experts agreed, adding that the national mood after the 2020 election, frustration with Senate obstruction, and partisan events in general have all had an effect on declining party affiliation.
Paul Bentz, senior vice president of research and strategy at HighGround Inc., said his organization saw a drop in the number of Republicans registered following the Jan.6 uprising on Capitol Hill. While many expected there to be a change from the GOP after Jan. 6, “the trend has not continued at the high speed people thought,” Bentz said.
He added that the Republican-led audit of election results in Maricopa County does not appear to be chasing as many voters as some had predicted. But since “77% of Republicans support the audit, according to our polls,” he wouldn’t expect it to alienate large numbers of registered voters from the party.
Noble said “living and working in the past” with the audit could hamper Republicans as the party tries to provide information and direction to its candidates for the next election.
“Any qualified political strategist will tell you that once the elections are over you start to focus on the next ones,” he said.
But Republicans still have the overall numerical advantage and shouldn’t be left out of next year’s midterm elections, experts said.
“Fewer voters will run in the mid-term, but Republicans will generally run at a higher number than anyone,” Bentz said.
This does not mean that the parties can ignore the recent registration drops, however, with analysts warning that they should not do anything “too extreme” or “too out of step with mainstream America” in the coming months.
“A warning to anyone running for political office in Arizona in 2022… is that Arizona is truly an independent state,” Noble said.