California, the state that gave America notable Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, now has more registered independents than Republicans, Political Data Inc. said Tuesday. By the close of regular voter registration, voters who chose no party outnumbered Republicans by 73,000 voters, or 4,844,803 independents to 4,771,984 Republicans; Democrats make up 44.4 percent of the registered electorate, with 8,436,493 voters, Political Data said. California holds its primary elections on June 5.
Matt Fleming, a spokesman for the California Republican Party, put a positive spin on the GOP becoming a numerical third party, telling The Sacramento Bee that the real trend is people dropping their party affiliation, which, he said, "suggests that voters are fed up with the status quo in California, which, by any objective measure, is Democrat control of Sacramento." Political Data official Paul Mitchell said Republicans are seeing a sizable drop, but they vote more consistently than Democrats, casting about 40 percent of the votes in recent elections if you include GOP-leaning independents. "Registration numbers don't beget turnout numbers," he said. "This is merely one metric."