Changing party affiliation? You’re not alone

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The deadline is fast-approaching for Connecticut voters who want to change their party affiliation and participate in the presidential primary in April.

In Connecticut, voters must be registered with a party to participate in its primary. If they wish to switch, registered voters who are affiliated with a party must do so by Tuesday, Jan. 26. New and unaffiliated voters may pick a party until as late as April 25 (in person in town hall) and still participate in the primary.

Trend CT analyzed data on Connecticut voters switching to major (Republican or Democratic) parties. We looked at four years’ worth of monthly party affiliation change data provided by the Secretary of the State.

Over the period we looked into, there were 67,308 switches to a major party — 28,873 to the Republican side and 38,435 to the Democratic side.

The data are pretty good ballpark figures, according to Patrick Gallahue, a spokesperson for the Secretary of the State’s office. The counts can be imperfect in cases of individuals who change parties multiple times.

Unaffiliated voters make up the largest share of Connecticut’s electorate, with 900,699 unaffiliated as of October 2015, compared with 776,886 Democrats and 429,301 Republicans. Just 22,493 voters are affiliated with minor parties, such as “Connecticut for Lieberman” and “A Brookfield Party.”

Here are all of those switches over time:

Drilling down further, we can see the major spike in October 2012, preceding Barack Obama’s re-election, was led by a big spike in registered voters changing to the Democratic Party. It was also the top month for voters switching to the Republican party.

While there are 1.8 Democrats for every Republican in the state, Democrats enjoy a smaller majority among those changing parties. There are 1.3 switches to the Democratic party for every one switch to the Republican party.

Here’s a deeper look at which parties’ voters were leaving in favor of the two major parties.

What do you think?

  • Bill

    Numbers who switch is interesting but at this stage (pre-primaries, pre-conventions) they really don’t tell us much, do they? Would be interesting research to drill down into reasons why unaffiliated switch to a major party. For example, of the U to D, are people energized by Sanders or Clinton and want to vote for them, are they anti one or the other and registered D to vote against them, or are they likely R voters who register D to vote for Sanders as the nominee thinking any R could beat him. Similar reasons may exist for those U to R registrants.

  • Timothy L. McKee

    “Just 22,493 voters are affiliated with minor parties, such as “Connecticut for Lieberman” and “A Brookfield Party.” NO PREDJUICE AGAINT THIRD PARTIES I GUESS.. Greens are elected as town and city officials but he lists Conn for Lieberman ??

  • Guy

    wonder will happen once the state enters bankruptcy…as democrats are so corrupt they always bankrupt what they control. Are all state pensions now over $100k?

  • Joseph Brzezinski

    The data do not include any switching to unaffiliated. As I recall for the LIEBERMAN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY some of my coworkers switched to D for the primary but soon after it, switched back to their prior affiliation.