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« I Feel Safer Now | Main | Desperate Times, Desperate Measures »

March 25, 2008

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Thanks for this. I realize that no one registering voters in Philadelphia would likely get a representative sampling, but I admit that I was curious.

NPR was mentioning yesterday that in Pennsylvania? 111,000 new Democrats had been signed up and the Republicans had lost 13,000 registered voters. Something like that. So what's that maybe, 10% of the new democrats are hidden Republicans? Ha.

Those numbers are too aggregated to tell how many Republicans have switched to Democrat. All it says is that they lost 13,000 overall. That could mean, just to take an extreme example, that 111,000 Republicans switched to Democrat and 98,000 independents switched to Republican. That's not what happened, but you get my point.

Then, even if you could figure out how many Rs switched to D, that still doesn't tell you what you need to know, which is what they're thinking when they do it. Are they really becoming Democrats? Or do they intend to game the Democratic nomination and then vote for McCain in November anyway? Fun stuff to speculate about, probably meaningless in actuality.

I think it's entirely possible that there are a consequential number of people who rank the candidates as follows:

1. Obama or Clinton
2. McCain
3. Clinton or Obama

A good many of these folks may be Republicans, but register as Democrats for this election for the purpose of trying to vote for their #1 candidate. There's nothing insidious about that, and it may actually be fairly common among people who voted for Reagan in the 80's and Bill Clinton in the 90's. These folks aren't necessarily becoming Democrats, they're just moderate enough that sometimes the Democrats have the better candidate - provided they nominate the right one.

Gib-
Great point. Although there may be some Republicans who are switching whose preference this time around is:
1. Any Democrat.
2. No one.

Also, see my post this morning. The number of independents switching and new registrants swamp the effects of Republicans switching, I think.

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