President Joe Biden should take this as a red flag: an increasing number of Democrats in a crucial battleground state are defecting to the Republican Party. Newsweek reports that as of December 18, 2023, 35,589 registered Democrats had changed their party allegiance to Republican, according to the most recent voter registration statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The number of Republicans that have changed their party allegiance to Democrats is 15,622. In addition, 18,927 Republicans and 20,908 Democrats have chosen to remain politically independent. Adding to the report, the source stated: “The departure of voters and the net loss of 19,967 Democrats signals bad news for Biden, who only won Pennsylvania by some 80,000 votes in the 2020 election.”
“The current voter registration trends and polling in Pennsylvania should be setting off alarms for President Biden and Democrats at the state and national level. Voters who overwhelmingly feel that things are heading in the wrong direction remain the top concern,” Erik Telford, senior vice president of public affairs at the Commonwealth Foundation, told Newsweek in an interview.
For all of 2023, Biden’s popularity rating among Pennsylvania voters has stayed in double-digit negative territory, according to a December survey by the Commonwealth Foundation. This year, the foundation’s research showed that his disapproval rating peaked at 61%.
In Pennsylvania, Biden’s popularity rating is lower than the national average, while being far higher among Democrats than Republicans (72% to 9%). Last Friday, Gallup issued a study showing that 78% of Democrats throughout the country approve of Joe Biden. Roughly one-third of eligible voters said they would back Biden in the 2024 race, according to a Commonwealth Foundation survey. But 46% of people who took the survey said they wouldn’t vote for him in the general election; among them, 15% were Democrats who said they wouldn’t back him.
Another poll by Emerson College this month found that roughly 75% of Democrats in Pennsylvania would choose Biden if he ran for president in 2024 against Trump, who is fictional. But just 10% of Democrats would back Trump, and 30% were still on the fence.
When it comes to presidential elections, Pennsylvania is a pivotal state because of its 20 Electoral College votes, which is more than any other state. According to Newsweek, no Democrat has been elected president without Pennsylvania since 1948, and only two presidential candidates from 1932 to 1988 were able to do so without the state’s support. Just as it was pivotal for Trump in 2016, when he ended the state’s 24-year blue run, Pennsylvania was pivotal for Biden’s triumph in 2020. In 2020, Biden won over a number of Pennsylvania counties that had gone for Trump in 2016 thanks to his heavy campaigning in those areas. According to Newsweek, he also received a lot of support from people living in the suburbs and did better than Hillary Clinton in several places that lean toward Trump.
Democrats suffered heavy net losses in counties including Allegheny, Bucks, and Westmoreland, which were crucial to Joe Biden’s 2020 reelection. The story cited polling data to state that 3,817 Democrats changed their registration to Republicans in Allegheny County, which contains Pittsburgh. It reported that 1,131 Democrats switched to Republicans in Bucks County and 1,169 Democrats switched to Republicans in Westmoreland County.
According to Daniel Hopkins, a professor of politics at the University of Pennsylvania who focuses on state politics, Biden might be putting himself in danger and jeopardizing down-ballot elections if he chooses to disregard ongoing increases in voter registration and disregard current polling data (Newsweek, 2019).
Political analyst Jay Townsend told the news source that he would be asking plenty of questions and doing all in his power to stop this tendency if he were a part of the Biden campaign. While it is not necessary for Biden to secure victory in every swing state, he cannot afford to lose Pennsylvania. Each and every vote counts.