Losing Ground in N.C.

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Apr 03, 2008 11:40 AM
New registration is way up in anticipation of the first North Carolina presidential primary to matter in my lifetime:
More than 165,000 previously unregistered voters have signed up since the first of the year.
Then there's this (emphasis mine):
Between January and March of this year, more than 30,000 currently registered voters changed their party identification. Over 12,000 of those, about 40%, are previously Republican voters who have moved OUT of the party to register either as Democrats or as unaffiliated voters able to participate in either primary on May 6th. Subtract from that the number of Dems and unaffiliated voters who moved into the GOP, and there’s still a net LOSS of about 6,700 Republican voters in three months. By contrast, the Democratic Party nabbed a net of about 4,000 voters -- previously Republican or unaffiliated -– who moved into the Dem column.  And the unaffiliated group, which gained almost 50,000 new voters in the last three months, added an additional 2,700 net from the shuffle.
Are some of them Republicans switching to unaffiliated to have some fun with the Hillary/Obama battle? Undoubtedly. Are some of them just-plain disenchanted with the Republican Party? Probably so. There's a pretty strong strain of protectionism in a state that's lost a lot of textile mill jobs over the past 20 years, and Republicans have to walk a fine line on the issue. There are also a lot of those registered Democrats who vote consistently Republican in national elections, but never relinquished their party ID after Reagan wooed them.

Those voters in the middle are easy to miss in polls, but Obama's still up an average of 12.