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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Allegheny County Voter Registration Analysis

Posted by Fester

The Post Gazette is reporting that through the middle of September, the Allegheny County elections division has received and registered approximately 40,000 new voters. Among these voters are 21,859 Democrats, 9,369 Republicans, and 9,265 indpedents. More registrations are expected in the next week as registration ends on Monday, Oct. 4. Democrats are out-registrering republicans 2.3:1 which is a rate that is higher than the current voter registration rates in the county. Now what does this mean?

2000 general election shows that Al Gore was able to win a large Democratic majority in the county with 56% of the vote. Bob Casey, a conservative Democrat, won the largest Democratic majority with ~62% of the vote. The state attorney general vote saw a slim majority (~52%) go to Republican Mike Fisher. As we moved down ballot we see Democrats pile up signficant majorities in two of the four area congressional seats. A narrow win for Democrat Mascara occurs in the South Hills and a large win for Republican Mellissa Hart in the North Hills and far eastern suburbs of the county. There is significant ticket splitting within these races, but the county overall went for Democratic candidates. Approximately 585,000 people turned out.

2001 off-year general elections saw the County go overwhelmingly Democratic with significantly lower turnout. The lowest winner for a county wide seat was Recorder of Deeds, Valerie McDonald at 60% of the vote. Turnout was a little more than 230,000 voters.

On turnout of roughly 400,000 voters, the county barely went for Gov. Rendall by 52% in 2002's general election. In significantly redrawn districts, Republicans swept up large majorities in two Congressional districts for Melissa Hart and Tim Murphy, while the Democrats won large in two others.
The 2003 local elections saw the Democratic party win significant majorities for all races. Dan Onoroto was the weakest finisher with ~58% of the vote, while the row officers all received at least 60% of the vote. Turnout was said to be heavy for an off-year election, but I can not find an exact number right now.

So what does this tell us about Allegheny County voting patterns? The hard core partisans and extremely dedicated voters show up no matter what, but they number roughly 230,000 people. These voters split 60-40% Democratic in this county. The less reliable voters are 150% larger as a bloc than the dedicated voters. They also tend to vote more conservatively than the extremely dedicated. Al Gore did well with 56% of the vote in the county in 2000, performing above his state average, but a conservative Democrat received the largest majority, and a Republican won the county for Attorney General.

These new registrations are the anti-definition of extremely dedicated voters. They are previously unattached to the electoral process, and some of them will not be coming out to vote in November no matter how impressive the ACT, ACORN and Pittsburgh VIE GOTV efforts are. However, these three groups have run a pretty impressive campaign already and I have to assume that they have some plans in place for effective GOTV efforts for Allegheny County. The new Democrats who have been registered by these groups voters have been targeted to be in Democratic favorable demographics, so I think that their loyalty will be fairly high when they make it to the polls. These efforts will most likely give John Kerry and other Democrats an additional 1%-2% margin in Allegheny County which will help ride out the large losses that Kerry will take in some of the state's centrally located counties.

Crossposted at Fester's Place

Posted at 10:07 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati