Although poll numbers remain poor for Republican nominee Donald Trump in battleground states, a sign of hope is the GOP has continued to gain ground in recent months in voter registration in many of those key locations, Politico reported Monday.
Perhaps the most important example is Florida, where Republicans have added close to 70,000 more voters to their rolls than Democrats have, which is especially impressive for the GOP since the state has a growing minority population that would normally translate into a Democratic advantage.
Pollster John Couvillon told Politico this swing is very dramatic considering President Barack Obama won Florida by less than 100,000 votes in the past presidential election.
However, Prof. Daniel Smith told the Tampa Bay Times these gains might be exaggerating an increase in Republican support. He explained many of those who switched to Republican were most likely overwhelmingly GOP voters in any case.
They were either independents or were registered with a minor party and made the switch so they could vote in the heavily contested GOP presidential primary.
In Pennsylvania, the numbers are also particularly good for Trump, as more than 85,000 former Democrats have become Republicans this year, almost three times the number of voters who have changed in the other direction, Politico reported.
Couvillon told Politico that significant increases in registration for one party can add a point or two to a candidate's vote share in a close race. This by itself won't be enough to currently make the difference in Pennsylvania, where Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point lead on average, but could become a major factor if the race tightens.
In North Carolina, the voter registration advantage for Democrats has fallen by 44,000 people over the past year, according to Politico, but the real intangible there is a 40 percent increase since 2008 in the number of independents, as many who have moved into the state have not joined up with either party.
In the key battleground states out West, the situation is not as good for Trump, as Democrats have gained more registered voters than Republicans over the past year in Colorado, Nevada and even Arizona.
And in places out West where Democrats have been strong, but Trump vowed he would pose a strong challenge, such as California and Oregon, the Republicans have fallen further behind in the voter registration battle this year.
Another worry for the Trump campaign is their ground campaign is not as well-oiled as the Clinton one, and if that situation remains, it could be easier for the Democrats to create a surge in registration in key places in the time remaining before the elections.
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