By Dave Andrusko
Pennsylvania is a pivotal state and key to the outcome of any presidential race. While 2024 (a presidential year) is a long ways off, 2022 (when a Senate seat and all 18 House seats is up for grabs) is staring every candidate in the face.
That’s why “Republican Registrations Surge in Pennsylvania in Warning Sign for Democrats” is so telling ).
Here’s the lead from Nathan Layne and Jason Lange:
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Republicans are registering formerly Democratic voters at four times the rate that Democrats are making the reverse conversion in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a warning sign for Democrats as they try to keep control of the U.S. Congress.
The Republican gains in Pennsylvania, home to a critical U.S. Senate race, follow a pattern seen in other states that could have competitive contests in November’s elections, as high levels of disapproval with President Joe Biden’s handling of his job are helping narrow the long-held advantage held by Democrats in numbers of registered voters.
Democrats have counted on Philadelphia, a traditional stronghold, but even there the advantage has shrunk. “Voter data shows that 1,315 Democrats in the city have filed forms this year to change their party registration to Republican, more than four times the number of Republicans making the opposite switch,” according to Layne and Lange,
In other words, what is happening in The Keystone State is not unique. It is emblematic of larger trends.
Layne and Jason Lange write that
Nowhere is the Republican advance in voter registration more evident than in Pennsylvania, where so far this year Republicans have converted four Democrats for every Republican who has switched to the Democratic Party, according to data published by Pennsylvania’s Department of State. That’s on track to be the highest conversion rate in at least a decade and well above 2016, when Republicans took the White House, House of Representatives and Senate.
Conclusion? “This is bad news for the Democrats,” said Kevan Yenerall, a political scientist at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania.”
The issues that resonate everywhere—led by worries about inflation and crime—are not the only reason for Republican gains:
[A] growing number of Pennsylvania voters have become disillusioned with the Democratic Party over its perceived shift leftward on cultural matters, said Terry Madonna, a senior fellow in residence at Millersville University, a longtime political analyst in the state.
Madonna pointed to Republican Glenn Youngkin, who won the governorship of Virginia last year after campaigning on a promise to ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools, as an indicator of what will resonate with Pennsylvania voters.
One other thing to emphasize. Reuters “examined registration data in six states that could see tight U.S. Senate races in November and which generally require voters to be members of a party to participate in nominating contests.” Reuters added, “While each state tracks voter registration differently, the review pointed to Republican gains in four of those states, and no substantial difference in two of them.”
We will keep you updated.