The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Why Are Ohio Voters Leaving the Democratic Party?


Hmmm. Over in Ohio . . .

In what could be a worrisome sign for the party that controls the White House and Ohio governor’s office, substantially more Democrats than Republicans are switching parties this year in early absentee-ballot requests from Ohio’s largest counties.

In Cuyahoga County, for example, the number of Democrats switching to the GOP outnumbered Republicans becoming Democrats by nearly 7 to 1 as of Tuesday. Two years ago, nearly five times as many Republicans switched in Ohio’s largest county.

Democrats lead the party conversions by almost 9 to 1 in Hamilton County, while it’s about 6 to 1 in Franklin County. Statewide totals aren’t available, but the three counties contain about 30 percent of all registered voters in Ohio.

Experts say it’s too soon to draw firm conclusions, but they think part of the reason for the change is that Republicans who switched for the heated Democratic presidential primary in Ohio two years ago are moving back to the GOP.

What’s really surprising about this is that the Democrats have a relatively hotly contested Senate primary between Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, but the GOP candidate for Senate is almost certain to be Rob Portman, and the gubernatorial candidate is near-certain to be John Kasich. In other words, it’s not heated primaries that are driving registration and switching; I suspect it reflects how Ohioans feel about each respective party.

Tags: Barack Obama , Horserace , Joe Biden , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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