The Voter Registration Battle in Key States is Favoring President Trump

Trump's ground operation appears to be paying off


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Joe Biden has had a consistant lead in several battleground states according to national polls over the last few weeks.

However, that could change soon, as it appears that President Trump’s ground operation is paying dividends when it comes to registering new voters in key states.

The Trump campaign has been very busy knocking on more than a million doors a week, while the Biden campaign has completely avoided it.

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This speaks to the bigger point that voter enthusiasm is purely on the Republican side this election.

NBC News has more on Trump's outpacing of Biden in voter registration:

In the last few weeks, Joe Biden has led President Donald Trump by a fairly consistent 8-point average in national polls and has maintained leads in more than enough battleground states to win the Electoral College, including Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all states Trump won in 2016.

But there are signs Trump's ground operation is paying off when it comes to registering new voters in key states, an advantage that could become important if the race tightens before Nov. 3.

The Trump campaign has boasted that it knocks on more than a million doors a week, a claim that's impossible to independently verify. In sharp contrast, the Biden campaign had ditched a ground game for virtual outreach, citing Covid-19 concerns — even though academic research has routinely concluded door-to-door canvassing is the "most consistently effective and efficient method of voter mobilization." Only just now has the Biden campaign decided to restart its in-person voter contacts in some battleground states.

As deadlines approach, new data from the past few months shows Republicans have swamped Democrats in adding new voters to the rolls, a dramatic GOP improvement over 2016, even if new registrations have lagged 2016 rates across the board. It's a sign that in a pandemic, Democrats are struggling to seize traditional opportunities to pad their margins, such as the return of students to college campuses.

Of the six states Trump won by less than 5 points in 2016, four — Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — permit voters to register by party. In all four states, voter registration trends are more robust for the GOP than four years ago.

In Florida, Republicans added a net 195,652 registered voters between this March's presidential primary and the end of August, while Democrats added 98,362 and other voters increased 69,848. During the same period in 2016, Republicans added a net 182,983 registrants, Democrats 163,571 and others 71,982. In 2016, Trump prevailed in Florida by just 112,911 votes.

Even in heavily blue Miami-Dade County, where Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 29 points in 2016, Republicans added a net 22,986 additional voter registrations between March and the end of August, compared to 11,142 for Democrats.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans added a net 135,619 voters between this June's primary and the final week of September, while Democrats added 57,985 and other voters increased 49,995. Between the April 2016 primary and the November 2016 general election, Republicans added 175,016 registrants, Democrats added 155,269 and others 118,989. That fall, Trump won the state by just 44,292 votes.

The pro-GOP trend since 2016 is also apparent, if less dramatic, in Arizona and North Carolina, two Sun Belt states Democrats have high hopes of flipping blue.

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CBS News has more on the momentum swing:

There are still more people registered as Democrats than Republicans in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, but Republicans have been gaining ground.

There are multiple forces at play: Republicans are making strides with registering voters, the two-party system is losing its appeal — especially with young people — and Democrats are being purged from the rolls as they either move out of those states or aren't showing up at the polls.

"The people who have been removed from the file since [2016] are more Democrats than Republicans," said Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a nonprofit politics data firm. "Overwhelmingly, those people didn't vote in 2016. What that tells you is these are people who had already either moved from the state or already died prior to November 2016, and they just hadn't been removed at that point."

The latest national CBS News Battleground Tracker poll shows Joe Biden with a 10-point lead among likely voters, but that lead narrows to within the margin of error in several key states, meaning the race could come down to who shows up at the polls on or before Election Day.

Both the Trump and Biden campaigns are actively working to boost their party registration numbers. Heading into Trump rallies, volunteers with clipboards can be spotted in the crowds making sure supporters are signed up to vote. Joe Biden's campaign started airing ads this week in North Carolina and Florida informing residents about the registration deadline.

"If you are not registered it only takes a few minutes to get registered," says the narrator before pushing to the voting website funded by Democrats.

With early October voter registration deadlines looming in many states, Democrats' advantage has narrowed.

These are positive signs for sure.

As long as Trump supporters continue to register to vote between now and the October 5 deadline, the enthusiasm will carry #45 to another 4 years!


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