Voter registration gains in the critical states of Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are boosting Republican officials’ optimism for the upcoming presidential election.
“Updated voter registration tallies show that Republicans have narrowed the gap with Democrats in three critical states,” The New York Times reported Monday.
Dee Stewart, a Republican political consultant in North Carolina, told the Times the uptick in GOP registrations is the “secret weapon” that could tip the election in President Donald Trump’s favor.
“The tremendous voter registration gain by the Republicans is the secret weapon that will make the difference for the Republicans in 2020,” Stewart said.
In Florida, carrying a hefty 29 elector votes, “Republicans say the increase in registered voters there has the potential to give the president an edge,” the Times reported. “In data released last week by the Florida secretary of state’s office, Republicans had narrowed the registration chasm with Democrats to 134,000 out of 14.4 million voters — fewer than 1 percent. In 2016, when Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, lost the state to Mr. Trump, Democrats held a 330,000-voter advantage.”
Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, underscored Republicans’ effective efforts to get out and knock on voters’ doors, despite the apparent risk of COVID-19. “They have made it clear that, despite the pandemic, they were going to still knock on doors and register voters,” he said.
Jewett also said that Democrats were “handicapped” in their efforts to get felons voting rights by a court battle concerning felons paying outstanding fines to restore voting rights.
“I think Democrats were somewhat hopeful that there were going to be more felons that regained voting rights and actually registered,” he said. “That ended up not being a huge boost.”
Pennsylvania, too, is seeing gains in Republican voter registration.
“We were plowing the fields and they weren’t out there,” Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Republican political consultant in Pennsylvania, told the Times. “The Democratic groups didn’t get back on the street until Labor Day. They were more skittish about it.”
And according to Tim Wigginton, a spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party, “voter registration numbers were an overall plus for his party, particularly when combined with unaffiliated voters and registered Democrats who vote Republican in presidential races,” the Times report noted.
“I think it’s definitely a positive sign for Republicans,” said Wigginton.
The report comes as the Investor’s Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll shows Trump making significant gains to close his deficit against Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
The poll is seen as especially credible since it was one of the few to call the 2016 election accurately.
“It recently found that Biden’s lead slipped to a new low of 48.1% compared to Trump’s new high of 45.8%,” reported Fox News on Tuesday. “That represents a 2.4 point bump for the president and 3.8 point decline for his opponent since the poll was launched on Oct. 12. The poll also gauges support for third-party candidates but in a head-to-head matchup, the former vice president still beats Trump 49%-46.2%.”