State Capitol News
Wed August 27, 2008
Gap between Democrats and Republicans in AZ Shrinking
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Republicans still have an edge over Democrats in the state. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports it's not as much as it was.
The new figures show Republicans picked up about 57,000 new
registrants since the 2006 primary. But Democrats added more than
110,000 during the same period. And 94,000 people registered as
independents, meaning they now make up more than 27 percent of
the nearly 2.8 million Arizonans registered to vote. Pollster
Bruce Merrill said that last number is not a surprise.
(This is the continuation of this trend that people reject both
political parties. I mean, at that rate, it's only going to be
about five years until there'll be more independents in Arizona
than either Democrats or Republicans.)
And he said that desire to be independent comes largely from
younger voters. Merrill said though, there's a related factor
this year helping the Democrats -- the Obama phenomenon.
(All of the national polls show about 60 percent of the people
under 30 are supporting Obama, about 30 percent are supporting
McCain. To the extent that Obama has generated that kind of
groundswell with young people, they're much more likely as they
come into the system to register Democratic than Republican.)
But Merrill said all that means nothing if the newly registered
voters don't get to the polls.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is