Like many other states, registering as a Republican or Democrat in North Carolina isn’t as appealing as it used to be. The number of unaffiliated voters continues to rise. They now account for 26 percent of the state’s electorate.
The group Democracy North Carolina compiled the numbers. They show since 2008, the number of unaffiliated voters swelled by 306,500. The Republican and Democratic parties actually lost registered voters. Republicans lost 12,400 and Democrats 102,800.
“Perhaps, this is the sign from the grassroots, from the voters, saying, ‘If y’all aren’t going to get anything done, we’re not going to affiliate with either one of you,’” says Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College.
He points out it would be a mistake to think these unaffiliated voters don’t align themselves with a party.
“They will typically pick one side or the other and only about 10-12 percent nationally are true independent independents.”
Bitzer says many of the new unaffiliated voters are likely people who move to the state or those who register when they turn 18 and not registered voters ditching their party affiliation.
In Mecklenburg County, unaffiliated voters slightly outnumber Republicans, accounting for about 28 percent of the registration rolls. Democrats account for 46% percent as they did in 2008.