--Former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, on registration trends in 26 states ... away from the Republican brand
In 26 states and the District of Columbia where voter registration data by party are available, a study of those data by the New York Times reveals that since 2004 the total number of registered Democrats increased by net 214,656, while the number of Republicans fell by 1,407,971. While Democratic registrations increased in 15 states since 2004, the "independent" or "unaffiliated" designations swelled even more. Republican registrations grew in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kentucky -- very slightly -- which makes those three states fairly unique states of mind.
" 'This is very suggestive that there is a fundamental change going on in the electorate,' said Michael P. McDonald, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of political science at George Mason University who has studied voting patterns."
Where is North Carolina in this study? Although Democratic registrations have shot up statewide, North Carolina, along with Arizona and Colorado, has seen huge bumps in "unaffiliated" registrations, so that "nonpartisan voters essentially constitute a third party." That's actually been the case in Watauga County for some time now, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a significant margin but where unaffiliated voters hold the balance of power. They have not been tilting toward the Republican Party for the last several election cycles.
Current voter registration by party in Watauga County: