GOP Holds Voter-Registration Advantage in Races for Governor and President

www.governing.com | 6/26/2019 | Alan Greenblatt
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SPEED READ:

In Kentucky and Louisiana, which both have governors' races this year, the number of registered Republicans increased since 2016 while the number of registered Democrats decreased.

Florida - Pennsylvania - Battleground - States - Republicans

In Florida and Pennsylvania, two major 2020 battleground states, Republicans are outperforming Democrats in voter registration.

“That does go against the narrative that Trump was going to lead the party over a cliff,” says one political scientist.

Voters - Rise

Independent voters are on the rise.

Republicans have reasons for optimism heading into this fall’s elections for governor. All three of this year's races -- in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi -- are being held in the South, a region where the party is already dominant.

Factor - GOP - Favor - Party - Registration

There’s at least one other factor playing in the GOP’s favor: party registration.

Republicans are also gaining relative strength in some of the states expected to be competitive in the 2020 presidential election. Republicans have been doing better than Democrats, for example, in the sizable swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania.

Republicans - Notes - Aubrey - Jewett - Scientist

“Republicans have been gaining,” notes Aubrey Jewett, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida (UCF). “That does go against the narrative that Trump was going to lead the party over a cliff.”

In Kentucky, the number of registered Republicans has increased by 104,765, or 12 percent, since the 2016 election. The number of registered Democrats, meanwhile, dropped by 9,445, or less than 1 percent. Even more dramatically, Republicans have gained 174,214 registered voters since GOP Gov. Matt Bevin’s inauguration in 2015, compared with an increase of just 2,731 Democrats.

Change - Louisiana - GOP - Republicans - Voters

The change in Louisiana has been less stark but is still positive for the GOP. Republicans have gained 15,148 voters since 2016, or 1 percent. By contrast, Democratic voter registration has decreased by 83,246, or 6 percent.

“As old Democrats are dying off, their replacements identify more as Republicans,” says John Couvillon, a GOP pollster and consultant in Louisiana....
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