Republicans are making big gains in voter affiliation nationally, according to a report published Thursday by Gallup, but California, and especially the Bay Area, is bucking the trend in ways that could shape local legislative and congressional elections.
Gallup’s report, based on survey data, rates 10 states as solidly Republican, doubling the number rated as solidly red in 2008. Meanwhile, 12 states are rated as solidly Democratic, down from 30 in 2008.
California is still solidly blue, according to Gallup, and the latest voter registration statistics back that up. A new report from the secretary of state shows a slight registration gain over the past year for Democrats, a larger gain for independents and a continuing decline in Republican registration. Statewide, 43.6 percent of voters are registered Democrats, 30.3 percent are registered Republicans and 21.2 percent decline to state a party preference. The rest are scattered among minor parties.
The marginalization of the GOP in California is especially evident in the Bay Area, where independent voters now outnumber Republicans in five counties – Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin. The numbers are nearly even in Sonoma County, and also in Mendocino County.
The registration report is the first since new congressional and legislative boundaries were drawn, and two local districts are worth watching closely as California holds its first top-two primary.
In the new 2nd Congressional District, which spans the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, Democrats have a 49.6 percent to 22.4 percent edge over Republicans, with 20.8 percent of voters declining to state a preference. In the new 10th Assembly District, which includes all of Marin County and much of Sonoma County, the split is 53.8 percent to 19.6 percent in favor of the Democrats with 21.5 percent declining to state.
With a crowded Democratic field, the primary vote could split, allowing a Republican to advance to the November election. But both districts could easily produce a general election featuring two Democrats.
Filing opens in about 10 days. So far, the field for the congressional seat includes Democrats Jared Huffman, Stacy Lawson, Norman Solomon, Susan Adams, Tiffany Renee and William Courtney, Republican Dan Roberts and Andy Caffrey of the Green Party. Candidates for the Assembly seat are expected to include Democrats Michael Allen, Marc Levine, H. Christian Gunderson and Alex Easton-Brown, Republican Philip Yim and independent Joseph Boswell.
– Jim Sweeney