by Dan Lucas
The biggest change in Oregon voter registration in the past 15 years has been the increase in the number of voters who are registering as something other than Democrats or Republicans.
In 2001 75% of Oregon voters were registered as Democrats or Republicans. As of last month, that number had fallen to 67%.
According to Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian, the number of Oregon voters registered as Democrats or Republicans back in 1974 was almost 96%.
Democratic voter registration peaked in 2008 at 930,000 voters right after the first election of President Obama. Since then it has declined to 814,000 voters, as of last month.
Republican voter registration peaked in 2004 at 757,000 voters right after the re-election of President George W. Bush. Since then it has declined to 646,000 voters, as of last month.
As of last month, May 2015, there were 704,000 independent voters in Oregon – 33% of all voters. Small-i independents are not registered as either Democrats or Republicans – they are mainly non-affiliated voters (NAV), but also include voters who belong to minor parties (Libertarian, Working Families, Pacific Green, etc.) or the smaller major party in Oregon, the Independent Party.
Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian reported last year that back in 1974 only 4.2% of Oregon voters weren’t registered as Democrats or Republicans, and that number had grown to nearly 20% by 1994.
Looking at the longer term trend of Oregon voters who are registering as something other than Democrats or Republicans, it’s not hard to see a day when there will be more independents than either Democratic or Republican voters. In fact, there are already 3 Oregon House districts where that has happened: 29 (Hillsboro), 30 (Hillsboro) and 54 (Bend).
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