The latest numbers from the Alaska Division of Elections tallying the registered voters in the state for this election cycle, as well as the party to which they belong, show some potential holes in Sen. Mark Begich’s supposed superior ground game. A ground game involves getting people to the polls—the success of which can’t be quantified until they go there. But it also involves registering new voters, which the Begich campaign and the Alaska Democratic Party, helped by the national party, have been working hard at. The national Democrats have sent up to 90 people to Alaska to work on that ground game. Lots of money is being spent and as many as 15 offices have been opened across the state. On the other side, the RNC has only sent 11 people to Alaska, and Sullivan’s campaign has been less verbal, publicly at least, about touting its ground game.
It may very well turn out that all the efforts will win the race for Begich. However, the numbers from the Alaska Division of Elections show that when it comes to new voter registrants, the results are less than overwhelming, particularly compared to 2008 when Begich first won his Senate seat. And the numbers should be especially concerning for the Alaska Democratic Party as a whole, which continues to loose numbers.
As of October 10, the last day the division accounted for voter registrants pre-general, there are 70,469 registered Democrats on the voter rolls, 135,910 Republicans, and 276,225 non-partisan and undeclared voters, loosely considered the “independent” voters.
Of those, 14,111 are new registered voters since July, the last time the Division scrubbed the numbers before the primary. Of those new registrants, 1,365 registered as Democrats and 2,777 registered as Republicans. (During that same period in 2008, 19,259 new voters were added to the rolls.)
The bulk of the new voters–10,810–are those coveted independents. Begich will certainly get a chunk of those voters. In fact, public polls show that although he’s trailing Sullivan, he’s up among independents, something that should concern Sullivan. However, for Begich, it would have been far better had more registered as Dems, particularly given the overall Republican registrant advantage.
But what’s most startling about the numbers is the drop in Democratic Party registrants. From October 2008 to now, there are 6,260 fewer registered Democrats in Alaska, which is the only one of the three main voter categories that lost voters. There are now 9,327 more Republicans and 13,411 new independents.
And those numbers should be particularly worrisome for Begich considering that he only won by 4,000 votes in 2008.
Here are the charts from 2014 and 2008, courtesy of the Division of Elections:
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