Under the Dome

Democrats losing voters as independents on the rise

Democrats have suffered in the exodus of registered voters from the state’s major political parties.

A new analysis shows there are nearly 103,000 fewer registered Democrats than there were five years ago, and 12,400 fewer Republicans.

The defections come at a time of increasing voter registration. But the analysis by Democracy North Carolina finds that unaffiliated voters account for all of the increase after accounting for deaths, moves and changing parties.

“More North Carolinians, especially new residents and young voters, are refusing to embrace or perhaps even understand a party’s philosophy,” says Bob Hall of the campaign watchdog group. “That will make it harder for the parties to mobilize voters as their core supporters decline, particularly in a non-presidential year like 2014.”

Twenty-six percent of all registered voters are unaffiliated, up from 22 percent five years ago and only 8 percent in 1993. Democrats accounted for 60 percent of the voters 20 years ago, but are now only 43 percent. Republicans have remained steady at 31 percent.

There are 6.5 million registered voters in North Carolina. There was a net increase of 210,000 registered voters since November 2008, with a net gain of 306,500 unaffiliated voters offsetting loses for Republicans and especially Democrats.

Other findings:

• The number of white voters declined by 1,300 over the past five years. They account for 71 percent of the total, compared to 73 percent in 2008 and 81 percent 20 years ago.

• African-American voter registration now accounts for 23 percent of the electorate, up from 22 percent in 2008 and 18 percent in 1993.

• Hispanic or Latino voters, although less that 2 percent of all voters, have registered in increasing numbers, nearly doubling over the past five years to 116,500.

• Women still outnumber men by about half a million voters, and they make up 54 percent of all registrations.