Capitol Weekly

By JOHN HOWARD
Posted 09.25.2014

Increasingly, California voters are giving a thumbs down to both major parties when they register to vote, with those who decline to state a party affiliation now comprising nearly a fourth of the electorate.

Some 23.1 percent of California’s 17.63 million registered voters declined to state a party preference, up nearly 3 percentage points from 2010, according to figures released by the secretary of state’s office. The numbers were contained in the state’s official Sept. 5 registration report 60 days before the Nov. 4 general election. Another report with updated numbers will be released 15 days out from Election Day.

The increase in the numbers of independent voters mirrors a decrease in the registration percentages of both Democrats and Republicans.

The increase in the numbers of voters who eschew a party affiliation continues a long-developing trend.

Between September 1998 and September 2014, the number of decline-to-state voters has gone up dramatically, from 12.6 percent in 1998 to 23.1 percent currently. In a separate report last month on voter preferences, the Public Policy Institute of California reported that the percentage of decline-to-state voters had doubled between the November 1994 general election and the June 2014 primary – from 10.3 percent to 21.2 percent.

The increase in the numbers of independent voters mirrors a decrease in the registration percentages of both Democrats and Republicans, the secretary of state reported. Republicans, however, have experienced a sharper decrease.

Democratic registration has fallen from 46.7 percent in September 1998 to 43.4 percent this month. Republican registration during the same period dropped from 35.6 percent to 28.2 percent. Those who register with minor parties – Peace and Freedom, Green, Americans Elect and Libertarian – are at 5.3 percent, a figure that has fluctuated slightly over the years.

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