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Dems, GOP, and Independent Lose Registrants Since 2008, Third Parties Make Gains

Professor Michael P. McDonald is one of the recognized experts on registration numbers by political party in the United States. He is a professor at George Mason University and has an article on that very subject here.

Richard Winger summarizes McDonald’s numbers nicely for third party aficionados.

McDonald has also calculated that since November 2008, the number of registered Republicans has declined 3.5%, the number of registered Democrats has declined 2.7%, the number of registered independents has declined 1.6%, and the number of voters registered in minor parties has increased 2.4%. McDonald also notes that research has shown that voters who are registered in minor parties are more sophisticated and more politically active than average voters.

Another interesting part of the analysis involves the naming of specific third parties and their growth since the 2008 Presidential election. McDonald cites the Green Party of Maine, Maryland Independent Party, and the Libertarian Party of North Carolina specifically.

This is not simply a Tea Party movement. There are a number of different minor political parties that range across the entire ideological spectrum. For example, in Maine the only state-recognized minor party is the Green Party, which has seen an increase of 8,790 or 34.1% since the 2008 presidential election. In North Carolina the only state-recognized minor party is the Libertarian Party, which has seen an increase of 3,685 or 101.3%. Maryland may demonstrate how this trend is an expression of frustration. The increase of 21,167 or 29.2% is entirely among the 23,897 new registrations with the Maryland Independent Party. A check of the Maryland Independent Party website shows little activity to account for a grassroots groundswell that trebled the party’s support.

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Trent Hill


  1. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson May 12, 2010

    Each person goes into a party looking for identity and valuation. If they cannot find it or if the party stops doing those two things, they move on.

    Vote Phillies

  2. Peter Gemma Peter Gemma May 12, 2010

    My problem in life is one of instant gratification. At this rate, alternative political parties will become viable sometime around 2110. We need savvy, experienced and professional leadership at the helm of party structures, as well as practical and polished candidates leading the charge. Sigh.

    OK, that being said, I’m going back to political trouble-making: it’s fun being a revolutionary.

  3. AroundtheblockAFT AroundtheblockAFT May 12, 2010

    #2, if then!
    Last I recall, there were more than 500 registered Libertarians in my county but can’t recall the last time a meeting was called (or at least publicized) to even those of us who are state party members.

  4. Maryland Green Maryland Green May 12, 2010

    The growth of the Maryland Independent Party is not due to any measurable political trend except that Marylanders believe that they are registering as “independent” voters, not as a member of an “Independent Party”. Maryland ballots have an “unaffiliated” option meant for voters to check if they do not wish to affiliate with a political party. But voters check the “Independent” box instead, not knowing that they are affiliating with a party.

  5. My calculations include the implications by Maryland Green and that every one, save ‘Decline To State’, have fallen, with LP and GP the least (among the Loyal Opposition).

    ‘Decline Yo State’ or equivalent is the only inter state aggregate to increase.

    GOP national 2012 convention is apparently Tampa Bay area. Letters to the editor in the local daily will at least hit a local cord.

    Voters’ anti-establishment mood bites both parties (AP) Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer – 36 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – Years in office, high-profile endorsements and pork-barrel clout may not count for much this election year.

    Angry voters so far have shown little love for establishment candidates, raising questions about the value of traditional tools like political machines and delivering pet projects.

    Primary elections next week in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Kentucky may signal whether a full-blown trend is under way. If it is, future campaigns might become more bottom-up in nature, catering to voters who won’t be guided by political elites.

    The anti-establishment tide that ended Republican Bob Bennett’s three-term Senate career in Utah has clearly spread beyond the tea party. On Tuesday, it helped topple 28-year Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.

    In Pennsylvania, many Democratic voters seem unmoved by President Barack Obama’s pleas to embrace former Republican Arlen Specter in next week’s Senate primary.

    Bennett, Mollohan and Specter have one thing in common: They are veteran appropriators who take pride in delivering federally financed projects to their states.

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