More than a million voters have shifted to the Republican Party over the past year, including tens of thousands of swing voters — with some declaring they can no longer support the Democratic Party’s policies, according to a report Monday.
The move to the GOP is occurring in every part of the country - in Democratic and Republican states and cities since President Biden defeated former President Donald Trump, an analysis of voter registration data by the Associated Press found.
Over the past year, about two-thirds of the 1.7 million voters who changed party affiliations shifted to the Republican Party, and overall, more than 1 million people became Republicans compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats.
The shift most notably is playing out in the suburbs, which played a critical role in Biden’s 2020 victory. Well-educated swing voters who voted against Trump appear to be returning to the Republican Party, analysis shows.
The report also indicated that the Republicans are gaining ground in suburban counties outside Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, with some who made the switch saying they’ve had it with Democratic policies.
“It’s more so a rejection of the left than embracing the right,” Ben Smith, 37, from Larimer County, a suburb just north of Denver, said.
Smith said he reluctantly registered as a Republican earlier this year after the Democratic Party embraced COVID vaccine mandates, focused on racial justice and appeared unable to curb the rise of violent crime.
Jessica Kroells, also a resident of Larimer County, said she was a reliable Democratic voter until 2016 but the party “left me behind” in 2020.
“The party itself is no longer Democrat, it’s progressive socialism,” the 39-year-old homemaker said, pointing out her opposition to Biden’s plan to get rid of billions of dollars in student debt.
The report examined roughly 1.7 million voters across 42 states who likely switched party affiliations over the last year, looking at a combination of state voter records and statistical modeling.
The data show a marked reversal from the slight edge Democrats had in the number of party switchers nationwide when Trump was in the White House.
The influx of people to the Republican Party poses a dire threat for Democrats who are struggling with Biden’s plummeting poll numbers, skyrocketing gas and food prices, decades-high inflation rates and the aftereffects of the coronavirus pandemic as voters go to the polls in November that will determine who controls Congress.
But the report noted that last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s right to an abortion in 1973, could alter the suburban voter landscape by motivating women to vote.
The Republicans have been capitalizing on the frustration many Americans are experiencing by hosting voter registration events in swing states like Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
“Biden and Democrats are woefully out of touch with the American people, and that’s why voters are flocking to the Republican Party in droves,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said.
McDaniel predicted that “American suburbs will trend red for cycles to come” because of “Biden’s gas hike, the open border crisis, baby formula shortage and rising crime.”
The Democratic National Committee declined to comment about the shift in voter affiliations.
Still, some conservative leaders are calling on Republican candidates to tell suburban voters what they stand for rather than what they stand against.
Emily Seidel, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group begun by David and Charles Koch, said the organization is seeing suburban voters moving away from Democrats who espouse “extreme policy positions.”
“But that doesn’t mean that they’re ready to vote against those lawmakers either. Frankly, they’re skeptical of both options that they have,” Seidel said. “The lesson here: Candidates have to make their case, they have to give voters something to be for, not just something to be against.”
With Post wires