Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Impression : 14th still a swing district, just shifted from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic

While State Representative Pete Schwartkopf ran unopposed and four of the five Democrats at the top of the ticket won in the 14th (Obama, Biden, Markell and Denn), the reality is that the Democrats lost four of eight contested races in the 14th: US House, Insurance Commissioner, State Senate and Clerk of Peace.

The swing in registration is significant in that the party which has a plurality of registered voters has changed from Republican to Democrat, but the registration edge has only changed from the Republicans having a 369 voter registration edge after the 2002 reapportionment to the Democrats having a 628 voter registration in 2008.

When you take into account that total registration has increased from 15,837 to 19,038 over that 6 year period, that swing has less impact because of a larger overall registration number. The 369 edge in 2002 gave Republicans an additional 2.4%. 628 additional Democrats in 2008 gives the Democrats an additional 3.3%. So the overall registration shift is 5.7% from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Democrats went from 38.2% to 40.9% and the Republicans went from 40.6% to 37.6%. A measurable change, but not a large guaranteed voter safety net for either party.

The percentage of registered voters who registered something other than Democrat or Republican has remained relatively stable. It was 21.1% in 2002. It was 21.4% in 2008.

It looks like for the foreseeable future, major party candidates will need to hold their party base and get a fair share of those independent voters to win in the 14th.

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