Study finds Dems (and some Rs) in Florida, other states, leaving party

A new study released this morning by a Washington D.C. think tank that advocates moderate politics finds that registered voters in Florida and other battleground states are leaving the parties, especially the Democratic Party.

The study, by Third Way, which asserts that it is “a think tank that creates and advances moderate policy and political ideas,” finds that 240,000 Democrats have left the voter rolls since the 2008 election in Florida. About 90,000 Republicans have done the same thing. At the same time, about 100,000 voters were added in the “no party affiliation” category.

Similar patterns were seen in other battleground states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Nevada. In the eight states that  the group surveyed, only Colorado saw increases in party membership for both parties.

Overall, Third Way counted 825,000 fewer Democrats and 378,000 fewer Republicans in the eight states. People signing up as independent voters — officially called “no party affiliation” in Florida — increased 254,000 in the eight states combined.

The Third Way is pushing the study as evidence that people are sick of the partisan bickering and increasingly extreme positions of both parties.

“Our analysis also predicts that 2012 will see the highest turnout rate among Independents in 35 years—since Ford v. Carter in 1976,” the study declares. It’s authors, Michelle Diggles and Lanae Erickson, predicted that Democrats, and President Barack Obama, would be most affected, and would need to appeal to moderates and independents.

Republicans quickly responded on that note, pointing out that the Democratic losses are far steeper than the Republican losses in the eight states, suggesting that the battleground states are essentially becoming less Democratic, and creating more advantage for Republicans.

“The report underscores how much different 2012 will be for Obama than 2008.  Back then, it was commonplace to hear how many new voters the Obama campaign was registering.  Now, it looks like some of those voters, newly disenchanted, are leaving the party rolls,” the Republican National Committee Stated in a news release this morning.