In Chicago, Number of Democratic Voters Switching Parties Increases

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Mar 11, 2016 4:00 PM
In Chicago, Number of Democratic Voters Switching Parties Increases

Donald Trump has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he’s the candidate doing the most to bring new voters to the Republican Party.

"I'm bringing people -- Democrats over, I'm bringing independents over and we're going to build a Republican party,” the Republican frontrunner said in a February debate.

And so far it seems he’s right.

In Massachusetts nearly 20,000 registered Democrats abandoned the party to register as either a Republican or unaffiliated ahead of the commonwealth’s primary. And in Chicago, a similar pattern has emerged.

With early voting closing in Chicago in just two days, monitors note a surprising trend: Donald Trump showing some traction among Democrats.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

Just west of Midway Airport, in the bungalow belt dominated by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, some Democrats are defecting to The Donald.

“Right here, I’m a Donald Trump voter,” says retired city plumber Tom Izzo.

“So many Americans are out of job, but we got all these illegals working here. Something’s got to happen,” he says.

Izzo represents a bit of a trend. In 2008, just 6 percent of Chicago primary voters selected Republican ballots. This year, it’s up to 10 percent. And that’s not far away from the 13 percent back in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan attracted so-called blue collar Reagan Democrats.

“We need change, and Obama didn’t give us the change we needed,” Democratic voter Gene Krupa told CBS 2.

Whether Trump succeeds in attracting the same percentage of Democrats as Reagan did remains to be seen—but he’s not far off.