AP Sees a 'Political Shift' That Should Scare Democrats

In suburbs, people are switching parties to join the GOP
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 27, 2022 7:39 AM CDT
The AP Spots a Voter Trend That Should Worry Democrats
A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by the AP.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(Newser) – A political shift is beginning to take hold across the US as tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party's gains in recent years are becoming Republicans. More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year, according to voter registration data analyzed by the AP. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country in the period since President Biden replaced former President Trump.

But nowhere is the shift more pronounced—and dangerous for Democrats—than in the suburbs, where well-educated swing voters who turned against Trump's Republican Party in recent years appear to be swinging back. Over the last year, far more people are switching to the GOP across suburban counties from Denver to Atlanta and Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Republicans also gained ground in counties around medium-size cities such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; and Des Moines, Iowa. One Colorado voter who switched said he blamed Democrats' support for mandatory COVID vaccines, what he sees as the party's inability to quell violent crime, and its frequent focus on racial justice.

The AP examined nearly 1.7 million voters who had likely switched affiliations across 42 states for which there is data over the last 12 months, according to L2, a political data firm. L2 uses a combination of state voter records and statistical modeling to determine party affiliation. While party switching is not uncommon, the data shows a definite reversal from the period while Trump was in office, when Democrats enjoyed a slight edge in the number of party switchers nationwide. Over the last year, roughly two-thirds of the 1.7 million voters who changed their party affiliation shifted to the Republican Party. In all, more than 1 million people became Republicans compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats.

The broad migration of more than 1 million voters, a small portion of the overall US electorate, does not ensure widespread Republican success in the November midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress and dozens of governorships. And Democrats are hoping the Supreme Court's decision on Friday to overrule Roe v. Wade will energize supporters, particularly in the suburbs, ahead of the midterms. Still, the details about party switchers present a dire warning for Democrats who were already concerned about the macro effects shaping the political landscape this fall.

(Read more Democrats stories.)

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