Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free State GOP Fades to Black, Part Four

The Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and Gazette columnist Blair Lee have all looked at Democratic gains in voter registrations since 2004. But all of them are missing the point. Since 1992, Maryland has voted Democratic in Presidential elections by double digits and probably will continue to do so. The real impact of Democratic registration increases may be felt on state and local elections. And since the last round of those elections in 2006, Democratic gains have been eye-opening.

Below are two charts illustrating voter registrations by party and county at the end of October in 2006 and 2008.

In just two years, Democratic registrations have soared by double digits in 8 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions for a total gain of 11.7%. Democratic registrations have dropped in only two counties: Allegany and Talbot. Republicans did not achieve a double-digit increase in any county and shrank in seven counties, including Montgomery and Prince George’s. Their total registration increase was a tiny 1.7%. Overall, the Democrats added 202,122 voters while the GOP gained 15,752. New registrations not affiliated with either major party went up by 50,480.

These new registrations are producing small but noticeable shifts in the voter balance in some counties.

The Democratic percentage of registered voters increased in 16 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions over the last two years. At the same time, the Republican percentage of registered voters has declined in every single jurisdiction. The biggest shifts in favor of the Democrats have been in Charles County (plus 5.1 points), Prince George’s County (3.1 points), Montgomery County (2.4 points), Frederick County (2.0 points) and Howard County (1.7 points).

We will examine these counties more closely in Part Five.