Democrats are increasing their number of registered voters at more than double the rate of Republicans in Iowa, according to the latest registration numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office today.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Democrats have overtaken Republicans’ registration advantage for the first time ever since the district’s current lines were first redrawn in 2012. It’s also the first time that Democrats outnumber Republicans in three of the state’s four congressional districts.
Statewide, there’s 1,724 newly-registered Democrats since the September report. Republicans only gained 786 new registered voters for their party. But the No Party crowd grew by far the most, increasing by 5,646 in the last month.
A jump in No Party registrations is often seen during the first full month of college classes around the state. Youth vote organizations fan out across campuses to register new students and re-register returning ones at their new addresses. Younger voters are far more likely to register as an independent, so this time of the year sees large increases for that group of voters.
Here’s the current breakdown by congressional district as of October 1:
And here’s what the one-month increase looked like over the previous month:
As you can see, Democrats’ totals jumped the highest in the 1st and 3rd Congressional District, both of which feature some of the most competitive congressional races in the country.
NextGen America, which has an extensive field organizing team in Iowa, has concentrated their efforts this year on registering young voters in both the 1st and 3rd District. Their Iowa team reports that they’ve gotten 5,020 voter registrations in the 1st District and 2,808 in the 3rd District over the course of the year. The 1st District includes the University of Northern Iowa, as well as a lot of smaller private schools scattered throughout Cedar Rapids and Northeast Iowa.
The new milestone in the 3rd District is good news for Democrat Cindy Axne, who is in an extremely close race with Republican Congressman David Young. A recent New York Times poll from this weekend showed Axne up one point over Young, 44% to 43%. Both parties and campaigns have dumped an incredible amount of spending on TV ads into the district.
Of course, registration numbers alone certainly don’t ensure any sort of victory. There were many legislative districts throughout Iowa in 2016 where Democrats had a decent voter registration advantage that Republican candidates still won in. Still, it’s yet another data point that shows strong Democratic enthusiasm and involvement in this year’s election.
by Pat Rynard