Voters Flee Democratic Party in Key Swing States

| December 11 2011
Christopher Cook

Early Christmas present for the GOP?

President Obama’s uphill battle to re-election is getting steeper.

A report released today by the centrist think-tank Third Way showed that more than 825,000 voters in eight key battleground states have fled theDemocratic Party since Obama won election in 2008.

“The numbers show that Democrats’ path to victory just got harder,” said Lanae Erickson, the report’s co-author. “We are seeing both an increase in independents and a decrease in Democrats and that means the coalition they have to assemble is going to rely even more on independents in 2012 than it did in 2008.”

Amid frustrating partisan gridlock and unprecedentedly low party-approval ratings, the number of voters registering under a major party is falling fast, but it is also falling disproportionately.

In eight states that will be must-wins in 2012 – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – Democrats lost 5.4 percent of their registered voters while Republicans lost 3.1 percent. The number of independent voters in those states jumped 3.4 percent.

The reality is that both parties are shedding numbers, but the Democrats are shedding more. Some of that is due to bleed-off of some of those who swelled their ranks in 2008, but there’s caution in this for both parties. If the numbers of independent voters becomes significantly larger, it could transform the American political landscape. To remain competitive, the parties should be thinking now about how to woo voters back into their folds .