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CSPG Study Tracks Increased Voter Registration in 2008

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From the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance press release:

"The 2008 contests for the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nominations have been a boon for American democracy. The intense competition for nomination combined with investments in mobilizing voters for primaries and caucuses has fuelled an historic surge in voter registration compared to its level during the 2004 nomination contests. A study of official voter registration records by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute reveals the following:

Record voter registration was produced in 43 out of the 44 states for which there are official data during comparable periods in 2004 and 2008.

North Carolina registration in April 2008 is 14 percent higher than in the comparable period in 2004 and Indiana is up 20 percent. The unusually wide-open competition for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations has fuelled this remarkable jump in voter participation.

About a quarter of the new voter registration records were set in purple states, perhaps altering the electoral landscape in these states since 2004.

Although Democrats fear that the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton may weaken their Party's chances in November by alienating some voters, it may also have helped by increasing voter registration. Seventeen of the 43 states set records during primaries or caucuses that were held after Super Tuesday when the Republican contest largely came to an end. These voters may be a new and important pool of voters for Democratic candidates to recruit in November, offsetting perhaps voters that they lose because of lingering ill will."

The study was conducted by Lawrence R. Jacobs (Director, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance) and by Melanie Burns (Research Analyst). A full copy of the study can be found at: www.politicsandgovernance.org/reports/2008/The_Big_Mobilization.pdf

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Remains of the Data

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The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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