(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s registered voter numbers are up and Democrats hold an advantage, but Republicans are gaining former Democrats.
Early voting is underway and Election Day is Tuesday.
As of Monday, the commonwealth had 8.87 million registered voters, according to the Department of State. Slightly more than 4 million voters registered as Democrats, almost 3.5 million voters are Republican, and 954,000 voters are independent. Another 374,000 voters are registered with a third party.
While the registered numbers give Democrats a significant lead, not all registered voters will vote in the election, and Republicans have made some gains at the expense of Democratic registrations.
That bodes well for the Grand Old Party, continuing a long-running trend.
Last year, about 30,000 Republicans switched to Democrat and 14,000 other voters, compared to 37,000 Democrats switching to the Republicans along with 18,000 other voters. Republicans have gained more Democratic voters than Democrats have gained Republicans since 2008, according to the oldest data available.
Registered numbers may inflate how many voters are engaged with the electoral process. The Department of State also noted that Democrats have 3.6 million active voters and about 400,000 inactive voters, while Republicans have 3.25 million active voters and about 240,000 inactive voters, a smaller gap than registered numbers alone.
Though turning out the party base to vote will matter to decide whether Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro or Republican Doug Mastriano becomes governor, and whether Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman or Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz becomes U.S. Senator, split-ticket voting and independent voters can sway the outcome. If split-ticket voters emerge, polls suggest Shapiro and Oz benefit.
Statewide races in Pennsylvania remain competitive and neither party dominates across the commonwealth, compared to neighboring states like perennial tossup Ohio, which has become Republican dominated. If trends continue, Republicans could see better odds.