In Oklahoma, Republicans continue to show net increase over Democrats in registered voters

Oklahoma Republicans had a 3-1 net increase over Democrats in registered voters, registration records show.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: November 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012
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“We are now targeting independent voters almost as much as conservative Democrat voters,” Pinnell said. “That's a big change. It used to be that we were focused on just conservative Democrat voters, but because of that rise in that independent voter we're identifying conservative independents and calling independent voters almost as much as Democrat voters.”

Collins said Tuesday's election won't be a shutout for Oklahoma Democrats.

“I think we've still got a few surprises for them,” he said. “We're willing to wait until Tuesday night to see what happens.”

Official pre-election voter registration statistics by the Election Board showed a surge in voter registration in advance of Tuesday's general election, state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

Oklahoma's voter registration rolls saw a net increase of 114,103 voters since Jan. 15, he said. Nearly 47,000 of those registered in October before the Oct. 12 deadline.

Republicans have been making gains for the past 50 years in Oklahoma. The last Democratic president to carry Oklahoma was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

In 1980, Democrats made up 75.8 percent of registered voters in the state, while Republicans numbered 22.8 percent and independents totaled 1.4 percent. In 2002, 53.7 percent of registered voters were Democrats, compared with 36.3 percent for Republicans and 10 percent for independents.

‘Active' voters are nearly even

The latest Election Board figures show that among so-called “active” registered voters, the major parties are nearing parity: 45 percent are Democrats, 44 percent are Republicans and 11 percent are independents. Inactive voters are allowed to vote and can reactivate their status by voting or initiating a change in voter registration.

As of Thursday, Oklahoma had 2,114,713 registered voters. Of those, 964,847 are Democrats, 895,625 are Republicans, 254,223 are independents and 18 are Americans Elect.

President Barack Obama failed to win any of Oklahoma's 77 counties in 2008, and figures show the state has become more Republican since then. Republican voter registration is up, and voters in 2010 elected all Republicans to the eight available statewide posts in the November general election.

The GOP gained control of the state Senate for the first time in 2008, the last year Democrats made up at least half the number of registered voters. Democrats were at 50.1 percent, and Republicans were at 39.1 percent.

Democrats went below 50 percent for the first time in 2009, when the percentage stood at 49.3 percent. Republicans had 39.4 percent, and independents were at 11.3 percent.

By 2010, when Republicans won all eight statewide positions on the ballot — giving the GOP control of the governor's office and the Legislature at the same time for the first time — Democrats made up 49 percent of the registered voters, and Republicans had 40.6 percent.