Study shows registered Republican rolls in Pa. are shrinking

Written by on February 17, 2021

Study shows registered Republican rolls in Pa. are shrinking

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

February 17, 2021

Voter registration application with flag of United States of America

More than 15,000 voters have left the Pennsylvania Republican Party in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Analysis shows, however, that shift may not make much of a difference in the mid-term election.

So far this year, Democrats have taken in about 6,300 former GOP voters, while more than 9,000 other Republicans jumped ship to a third party or became independents.

That looks like a shift. But a Franklin and Marshall College analysis shows Republicans have, over time, registered more voters than Democrats and third parties combined.

Berwood Yost, director of the college’s Center for Opinion Research says that trend kept up in 2020. That means GOP candidates could be more competitive in the race for governor and U.S. Senate. 

“This is an important question because it has consequences for who’s going to win votes statewide,” Yost says. 

It will be a long time before we know whether things like the Capitol insurrection had a long-term effect on voter registrations, he says.

“If there are Republican defections, it’s going to benefit the Democratic party but if we see this continued trend that we’ve seen since 2000, I think we’re in for very competitive statewide races with neither party having a clear advantage,” Yost says. 

State data also show around 278,000 fewer registered voters than on Election Day and that the vast majority were inactive voters purged from the rolls.

Both major parties have lost a combined 22,000 voters, while independents and third-parties have gained 14,000 voters.

But for now, Yost says, the changes we are seeing aren’t likely to shift those key races including the governor and U.S. Senate races next year. 

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