State Politics

Fact check: Has the GOP ‘won’ unaffiliated voters in every election since 2010?

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NC GOP, holds a press conference at the party headquarters building in Raleigh in November 2016.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NC GOP, holds a press conference at the party headquarters building in Raleigh in November 2016. cseward@newsobserver.com

At first, it might sound like Dallas Woodhouse is trying to put lipstick on a pig.

News came out that the number of unaffiliated voters recently surpassed the number of registered Republicans in North Carolina – leaving the GOP as the third largest voting bloc behind unaffiliated voters and Democrats.

There are now 2,640,000 registered Democrats, 2,056,000 unaffiliated voters and 2,055,000 Republicans.

Yet Woodhouse, executive director of the NC Republican Party, said the development is a positive sign for the GOP.

“It is important to note that since 2010, Republicans have won unaffiliated voters in every general election,” he said.

Is Woodhouse throwing out baseless claims to try to make his party look better? Or is he on to something?

Turns out, there’s no way to tell from election returns how unaffiliated voters cast their ballots – because voting ballots are secret. The N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement cannot compile or release data on how any group of registered voters voted, said Pat Gannon, the board’s spokesman.

But does that mean Woodhouse is wrong?

No. Election results and polling largely back him up.

To find out why we rated this claim Mostly True, go to PolitiFact.com.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

Our ruling

Speaker: Dallas Woodhouse, director of the NC GOP

Statement: “Since 2010, Republicans have won unaffiliated voters in every general election”

Ruling: Polls and primary participation stats show a consistent trend of unaffiliated voters choosing Republicans. Furthermore, given the relatively lower number of registered Republicans, experts say the GOP wouldn’t have achieved its recent success without repeatedly winning over unaffiliated voters. PolitiFact rates this claim Mostly True.

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