The latest voter registration numbers in Maricopa County from February reveal that independents now outnumber both Republicans and Democrats, with 76 more registrations than Republicans. Also according to new data from the Maricopa County Recorder, significantly more Democrats than Republicans left their parties to become independents, 1,331 compared to 1,154 Republicans. The trend favoring Republicans continued with more independents becoming Republicans than Democrats, and more Democrats switching to Republicans than Republicans switching to Democrats.
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward told The Arizona Sun Times, “In little over a year, voters have recognized that Democrat policies are bad for them, bad for their families, and bad for America. As gas prices skyrocket, rent is unaffordable, inflation is at historic levels, and the Biden Administration is steering the world into war, regular people are fleeing from the Democrat Party and looking to liberty-loving Americans to restore sanity in our country.”
Independents and Republicans now each make up 34% of voter registrations in the county, with Democrats lagging behind at 30% and Libertarians at .08%. While 806 independents became Republicans in January, only 544 became Democrats. There were 301 Democrats who became Republicans, while only 175 Republicans became Democrats.
Republicans are maintaining their longtime substantial voter registration edge over Democrats, 888,092 to 788,428. The changes continue a trend from January favoring Republicans, when more than 1,300 switched their party identification to Republican, compared to approximately 900 who changed to Democrat. In fact, more individuals in Maricopa County have switched to the Republican Party than Democratic Party for at least five consecutive months.
The numbers aren’t much different statewide. As of January, Republican registrations made up 34.50% of voters, followed by independents with 33.32%, Democrats with 31.35%, and Libertarians with .83%. Last July, quarterly numbers released by the Arizona Secretary of State revealed that 3,093 new voters registered as Republicans while just 539 Arizonans chose to register as Democrats.
While the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Maricopa County has narrowed over the past 10 years, it hasn’t fallen under four points. At the time of the general election in 2020, Republicans made up 35% of voter registrations, followed by independents with 32%, Democrats with 31%, and Libertarians with .96%. At the time of the general election in 2016, Republicans made up 35% of voter registrations, followed by independents with 34%, Democrats with 28%, and Libertarians with .09%.
While this reflects a slight surge in Democrat registrations in 2020 prior to the general election, it wasn’t enough to diminish Republicans’ four-point lead in Maricopa County. On National Voter Registration Day on September 22, 2020, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office received 28,400 new voter registrations, a record for 2020. Diana Solorio, public information officer for the recorder, said the number of registered voters was “historic.”
Ten years ago, at the time of the general election in 2012, Republicans made up 37% of voter registrations, followed by independents with 33%, Democrats with 28%, and Libertarians with .07%.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump lost the state by a little more than 10,000 votes, just .04% of the vote. In Maricopa County, Joe Biden won by roughly 45,000 votes, offsetting his poor performance in rural parts of the state. About 62% of the state’s voters live in Maricopa County, so how the county votes tends to determine the outcome of statewide races. Maricopa County was the only Arizona county to flip in the 2020 election. Trump won over 248,000 more votes in Arizona in 2020 than he did in 2016, even though he lost the race.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “People Voting” by Wyofile Wyofile. CC BY 2.0.