There is Red versus Blue in politics. Then there is just going into the red as a party. Despite the California GOP believing the recall campaign against Governor Gavin Newsom is significantly helping its struggling standing in the state, the latest voter registration news is almost all negative for state Republicans.
Based on the latest statewide voter registration numbers released by the California Secretary of State Office, the GOP saw a 0.1% decline in its voter registration share since the last registration data release right before the November election. This included a consistently similar decline in 46 of the state’s 58 counties (80%) throughout the state.
This means the GOP’s registration share is now down to 24.1% of all registered voters in the state. This is in third place more than 5½ points behind the 29.7% share of voters registered as independents or no party preference, and more than 20 points behind the 46.2% share for Democrats.
The one positive for Republicans is how small the change was; however, the drop occurred despite the regular drumbeat of GOP messaging about how popular and bipartisan the recall signature drive had been statewide. The recall effort did not originate with the state Republican Party, but the party soon jump on the bandwagon and tried to benefit from it as a party-building effort. But these benefits appear to have had minimal, if any, to the party’s registration figures.
This continues a consistent decade-long decline in Republican registrations. These are down 1.8 percentage points statewide since four years ago, and 6.7 points in the last 10 years.
Here is how voter registration percentages have changed in counties within the Greater Sacramento Metro area:
Further over the last 10 years, the Secretary of State’s has released 14 statistical updates, and only one of these showed a positive increase in registration share for Republicans. This came in October of last year when Republican registrations increased by 1.1% points over February of 2020.
It is possible the GOP may have built on that increase if not for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. A CalMatters review of data over the three-week period following Jan. 6 showed 33,448 registered California voters dropped their GOP party affiliation. This was out of 5.3 million registered Republicans, or 0.6%.
This decline doesn’t account for all of the previous 1.1% gain. So if 2.1 million signatures the recall petition organizers claimed were so bipartisan, then one is surprised the State GOP isn’t basking in at least a small increase in Republican registrations.