Pennsylvania Ripe for the Picking

Pennsylvania is approaching the Nov. 6 presidential election with 3 percent fewer registered voters than in fall 2008, an unusual slip that political analysts blame on a drop in voter enthusiasm across the country.

Democrats especially experienced a slump, bleeding 229,396 registered voters in Pennsylvania since the last presidential race, state data show. Republicans are down 112,796 registrants, but voters unconnected to either major party grew by 7 percent, or 73,043, according to Pennsylvania Department of State figures. As of Monday the state had 8,487,093 voters, down from 8,755,588 in November 2008, despite a 2 percent population gain. Democrats still hold a 50-37 percentage registration edge over Republicans, down one point from 2008.

The registration deadline for the election was Oct. 9.

“This year, we don’t have such a sense that this election is going to make history the way we did in 2008,” said Pat Dunham, chairwoman of the political science department at Duquesne University. “Enthusiasm in general may have dampened a little. Three-and-a-half years after electing Barack Obama, we see it’s not that easy to change things. ”

For Democrats in particular, “there’s not the same excitement” as four years ago, when the party tallied thousands of registrations, said political analyst Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.



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