New voters continue to shun major parties

The number of voters registering in a major party continues to decline in North Carolina, even as the total number of registered voters in continues to rise. As of Nov. 2, there were 6,475,017 registered voters: 2,764,123 registered Democrats, 1,990,192 registered Republicans, 22,173 registered Libertarians, and 1,698,529 registered unaffiliated.

The decline in the percentage of voters registered as Republicans or Democrats reached a new record low of 42.69 percent. The number of unaffiliated voters is now at 26.23 percent and the Libertarian portion is at 0.34 percent.

The number of registered Libertarians, 22,173, while still proportionally small, is an historic high for the party.

The Democratic share of registered votes is now at a new record low of 42.69 percent, and the Republican portion is down to a low of 30.74 percent.

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Large parties continue to lose voter registration share

The percentage of unaffiliated registered North Carolina voters reached another record high in August, while the Democratic and Republican share of registered voters continues to decline, according to an analysis of the statistics posted on the state Board of Elections website. As of August 6, 24.1 percent of voters registered unaffiliated, 45.63 registered Democratic, 31.52 percent choose Republican, and 0.19 percent registered Libertarian.

While the larger party shares of registered voters are in a long term decline, the number of unaffiliated voters has powered up from less than five percent in 1989 to almost a quarter of the electorate. The non-Demopublican (unaffiliated plus Libertarian) share of voter registration is also at an all-time high of 24.3 percent, a constant increase since February 2009.

The total number of registered voters has increased steadily since April 2011, rising from 6,106,990 to its current high of 6,136,049. Meanwhile, the Democratic share of that figure has decreased since August 2009, going from 45.63 percent to its current low of 44.2 percent. The Republican share also decreased from 31.53 percent in January 2011, down to another record low of 31.52 percent. In addition, the difference between the two large party shares has constantly decreased, from 12.97 in February 2011 to its current low of 12.71 percent.

In August 2005, the Libertarian share of voter registrants was at a record high of 0.24 percent, but was reset to zero when the party lost state recognition under North Carolina’s highly restrictive ballot access laws. Since regaining official recognition in June 2008, the Libertarian share of registered voters has steadily risen. The Libertarian Party is about where it was in April 2003, according these calculations.