Democrats have jumped out to a lead in the number of registered voters in Iowa, surpassing registered Republicans by nearly 15,000 statewide following the Feb. 3 Iowa Caucus. Republicans are now in third place among voter registrations; both parties trail No Party voters.
There are now 642,899 total registered Democrats in Iowa, compared to 628,154 Republicans and 713,691 No Party voters. Last month, before the Iowa Caucus, Republicans led Democrats by about 19,000 registered voters. Democrats now have the advantage by just under 15,000.
Both parties were roughly even in registered voters in 2012 and 2013, until Republicans inched out to a steady lead in early 2014, then started to put distance between them and the Democrats after the 2014 June primary. That lead largely held up, even after the good Democratic midterm elections in 2018, until now.
In total, registered Democrats increased by 27,385 people between February and March of this year. Republicans lost 6,344.
The Democratic caucuses brought out around 176,000 Iowans, better than the 2016 caucus turnout, but much lower than the historic 2008 numbers and below what many were hoping for. Some of that may have been due to indecision on the large field among Democratic voters, and turnout has steadily increased in states later on in the primary calendar.
For comparison, Democrats gained 58,449 new registered voters in the month following the 2008 Iowa Caucus. Following the 2016 caucus, Democrats boosted their numbers by 26,885 registrations.
The numbers may move significantly again this June, when Democrats have a statewide Senate primary, and Republicans have competitive primaries in the 2nd and 4th congressional districts.
Here’s the month-to-month totals:
|Feb 2020||Mar 2020||Diff|
It seems that Democrats’ gains came more from No Party and Republican switchers than it did first-time voters, given statewide registration didn’t increase. However, that can also be due to individual counties doing voter roll maintenance and moving people who haven’t voted in years to inactive status. We may not know which was the case for certain until we do a county-by-county analysis.
Starting Line will do a closer look at exactly that, to see where Democrats improved the most, in the days to come.
by Pat Rynard