The following was released this morning by the nonpartisan experts at the good government group, Democracy North Carolina (Click here and go to page 2 for the data and pie charts that accompanied the release):
“North Carolina Voters: Less White, More Independent
Despite North Carolina’s continued population growth, the major political parties are losing thousands of members from their peak five years ago while the number of unaffiliated voters is climbing higher for all ages and races. (See PAGE 2 of attachment for the data and pie charts.)
Overall, after accounting for deaths, moves and party switches, the number of registered voters has increased by 210,000 since November 2008 to a total of 6,475,000 in November 2013, but there are 102,800 fewer Democrats and 12,400 fewer Republicans. The net gain of 306,500 Unaffiliated voters accounts for all the growth in registrations over the past five years.
The rapid growth of Unaffiliated voters indicates people are not attracted to either major party, said Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina, the election reform group that compiled the data from State Board of Elections records. ‘More North Carolinians, especially new residents and young voters, are refusing to embrace or perhaps even understand a party’s philosophy. That will make it harder for the parties to mobilize voters as their core supporters decline, particularly in a non-presidential year like 2014.’
Unaffiliated voters are now 26% of all registered voters, up from 22% five years ago and just 8% in 1993. Democrats made up 60% of North Carolina voters twenty years ago, but their share of the electorate has fallen to 43% while Republicans’ share has remained a fairly stable 31%.
In addition to party alignment, the racial make-up of North Carolina voters continues to change. The number of white voters has actually declined by 1,300 in the past five years. Whites now make up 71% of all registered voters, compared to 73% in 2008 and 81% twenty years ago.
Meanwhile, African-American registered voters increased by 99,200 and are now 23% of the state’s electorate, up from 22% in 2008 and 18% in 1993.
Self-identified Hispanic or Latino voters (who may be of any race) are still less than 2% of all voters, but their number has nearly doubled over the past five years to 116,500.
Women still outnumber men by about 500,000 voters and make of 54% of all registrations. ‘If women consolidated around a message or messenger, they’d dominate state politics,’ said Hall, ‘but they are split by party and a growing minority is disenchanted with partisan politics.’
The gender and racial changes are most apparent among Democrats. With deaths, moves, and new registrations, the number of white women affiliating with the Democratic Party has dropped by 113,400 over the past five years, and white male Democrats have declined by 96,800. Meanwhile, the number of black Democrats has increased by 31,100 women and 33,400 men.
African Americans now make up 45% of the Democrats’ membership, while whites are 95% of the Republican Party. (1.0% of Republicans and 1.9% of Democrats do not list their race.)”