According to a new report from the Rose Institute for Local and State Government at Claremont McKenna College, the iron grip Republicans have had on Orange County has lost considerable strength. Democratic registration remains stable while the number of independents and DTS voters has expanded, but if the trends continue, we’ll soon see a toe-to-toe battle between OC’s Republicans and Democrats for the swing votes offered by independents and DTS voters.
From the report which came out late last month:
Specifically, since 2002, Republicans have lost ground in all but one Orange County-based legislative district. That exception was the 47th Congressional District, where Democrat Loretta Sanchez won by a smaller margin in 2010 than in 2002. But in all 17 Republican-held Orange County based state legislative and congressional districts, the Republican margin of victory was smaller in 2010 than in 2002. This is true despite a significant rebound in almost every district in 2010 over 2008.
In addition, Republican registration is declining in the county. Table 1 shows that Republican registration as a percentage of all registered Orange County voters has consistently fallen over the past decade, from 50 percent to 43 percent. 2010 was also the first time the total number of registered Republicans in Orange County fell. Republicans lost 25,025 registered voters in Orange County from 2008 to 2010, which contributed to the three percent drop in the Republican share of registered voters. Conversely, the total number of registered Democrats in Orange County increased by 27,087. This gain, however, increased the Democratic share of registered voters by only one percent. In fact, while Democratic registration has increased in absolute numbers for every two year period since 2000, Democratic registration as a portion of the electorate has remained stable at around 32 percent.
The graphs are very telling. And the rise in population largely attributed to new voters who are Asian and Latino are driving this switch.
The local GOP isn’t doing much to help themselves between flareups in Villa Park, Fullerton, and Costa Mesa.