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Oregon’s new party numbers

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August in a presidential year is conventions, parties coming together, voter registration drives and building interest in national elections. So its no surprise that membership in the Democratic and Republican Parties increased in August.

PARTY New: Motor Voter New: Non MV TOTAL
Democratic 1,278 1,829 3,107
Republican 969 1,577 2,546
Independent Party 228 2,033 2,261

What is a real shock here is the continued growth of the Independent Party of Oregon. That’s a big number for the IPO, and in raw numbers compares very well with the Democratic and Republican Party gains.

Where is all this IPO growth coming from? While the IPO continues to get about 9% of new motor voters who select a political party, it leads both the Democratic and Republican Parties in adding new party members who weren’t registered through motor voter. These include some new voters but probably more party switchers. This table shows the breakdown of new major party membership as a percentage and by source.

PARTY MV share % Non MV share % Total Share %
Democratic 51.6 33.6 39.2
Republican 39.2 29 32.2
Independent Party 9.2 37.4 28.6

Motor Voters as a group are likely younger voters. If we were to adjust these percentages using just Motor Voter registrants and assumed that NAV’s typically make up 24% of the electorate, the breakdown for new major party members among MVs is:

Democratic: 39%
Republican: 30%
IPO: 7%
NAV: 24%

This isn’t a big difference from the current total registration percentages, though the IPO is doing 2% better.

It’s the non Motor Voters that are the more interesting story. Some of these new members are new voters, but most must be voters switching parties or NAV’s starting to join parties. As the primaries are long over, these new members are not joining any party in order to vote in a Presidential primary. They are joining, or switching, for other reasons.

Where are all these new IPO non MV members coming from? One clue is to compare the shares the parties are earning from Motor Voters and non Motor Voters.

Democratic share drops from 51% of MVs to only 33.6% of non MVs. Drop of 18%
Republicans share drops from 39.2% of MVs to 29% of non MVs. Drop of 10%
IPO share increases from 9.2% of MVs to 37.4% of non MVs. Increase of 28%

When Oregon voters who are being registered through Motor Voter select a party, after normalizing for an historical 24% NAV rate, they are opting to join the major parties in about the following percentages: Democrat 39%, Republican 30%. IPO 7%

In August the new voters who are not registered through Motor Voter, and party switchers, and NAVs who decided to join a major political party are opting for IPO 37.4% of the time, Democratic 33.6% and Republican 29% of the time.

This is a big surge in the IPO membership. It could be the result of this Presidential election, where fairly or not, the Democratic and Republican candidates are two of the least liked nominees in history.

These numbers are a big turnaround for the IPO. Whether its an outlier, or a trend remains to be seen.

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