Republicans lead voter registration gains over Democrats heading into midterm cycle

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C. Weeks from the election, three of North Carolina’s most populous counties are often taking two weeks or more to send absentee ballots out to voters who request them. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH — Republicans are out-registering Democrats in North Carolina. Since the end of the 2020 election cycle, Republicans have cut into Democrats’ voter registration advantage by over a full percent (1.08%), gaining nearly 85,000 net registered Republicans, bringing Democrats’ lead to only 4.12% ahead of November’s general election. 

Voter registration numbers for Republicans grew by 1.8% since January 30, 2021, while Democrats’ registrants only grew by 0.7%. 

Republican registration gains with black voters have grown by 13.5% compared to 3.6% growth in Democratic registration numbers since April 2021. 

Among Native American voters, Republican registration numbers have grown by 8.2% compared to 0.7% growth in Democratic registration numbers since April 2021. 

This growth is largely in southeastern North Carolina, led by Robeson County. The county showed Republican registrations grew by 9.3% and Democratic registrations decreased by -1.0%. 

Gains in rural counties have accounted for a majority of Republican growth in the same time period in many states, including North Carolina. 

Data from the Republican National Committee shows voters in rural counties make up around 35% of registered voters but are responsible for over 77% of net gains. 

“North Carolina is continuing to trend red, and Democrats will be sent packing this fall at the ballot box,” said RNC spokeswoman Savannah Viar. 

While Republicans are out-registering Democrats, the growth of unaffiliated voters has surpassed both. 

In data as of April 30 this year unaffiliated voters numbered 2,534,366, with Democrats at 2,495,474 and Republicans at 2,200,299. 

Five years ago, 2,647,484 voters were registered Democrats, versus 2,064,966 Republicans and 2,091,906 unaffiliated. The trend is even more stark compared to ten years ago, when over 2.8 million voters were registered Democrats and just over 2 million were Republicans, with 1.7 million registered unaffiliated.