Since 2016, voters in the state of Pennsylvania are nearly seven times more likely to register as Republicans than as Democrats, Politico reports.
The GOP has netted almost 198,000 registered voters in the state compared to this time four years ago. During the same time frame, Democrats have gained only 29,000 voters.
Voter rolls indicate that Democrats still outnumber Republican voters by about 750,000 voters in the state.
But the uptick in GOP voters has Republicans hopeful that President Donald Trump will win the state again, according to Politico.
“It’s one of the reasons why I am very bullish on Donald Trump’s prospects in Pennsylvania. I think he will win again, and I think he will win by more votes than he did in 2016,” Charlie Gerow, a Harrisburg-based Republican strategist, told Politico. “Trump is doing what Ronald Reagan did 40 years ago, which is moving a lot of traditional Democrats into the Republican column.”
Voter registration has shifted in favor of the GOP in several key areas, including Erie, Luzerne, and Northampton counties. Those areas all backed Trump in 2016 after supporting former President Barack Obama in 2012.
Politico reports that registered Democrats comprise 47% of the state’s electorate. In September 2016, they made up 49%. Republicans have increased their presence in the electorate from four years ago. They make up 39% compared to 38% in 2016.
Gloria Lee Snover, chair of the Northampton County Republican Party, told Politico that voters tell her they want to be part of the “Trump party” when they register to vote.
The GOP has made its biggest gains in the western part of the state in Westmoreland and Washington counties as well as Luzerne County. Despite losing support statewide, Democrats have registered more voters than Republicans have in the past four years in Philadelphia’s suburbs, Politico reports.
Some Democrats say the shift in registration numbers reflects Democrats who haven’t voted that way for a while changing their affiliation to Republican.
“There’s reason to believe the shift is mostly ‘Democrats’ who haven’t been voting for Democrats for a long time, choosing to re-register as Republican,” J.J. Balaban, a Democrat consultant in Pennsylvania, told Politico.
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