March 25th, 2008
08:50 AM ET
15 years ago

Democrats hit voter record, hold near majority in Pennsylvania


Jason Caroll reports on how black voters in PA will affect the Democratic primary

(CNN) - The pivotal presidential campaign in Pennsylvania is entering a new chapter, and the first pages may be a good sign for Democrats.

As the state hit a voter sign-up deadline Monday for upcoming primaries, a top official told CNN that a near-majority of all voters on the rolls are registered as Democrats.

This comes as all sides see Pennsylvania as a key battleground in November. The state thinly went to John Kerry in 2004 and has a split Congressional delegation.

Late Monday, Pennsylvania Commissioner of Elections Harry VanSickle told CNN Radio the state had just over 4 million registered Democrats and 3.2 million Republicans eligible for the April 22 primaries.

Van Sickle noted Pennsylvania had 8.2 million total registered voters at the time. Do the math and it shows 49% of Pennsylvania voters were registered Democrats as of Monday, compared with 39% for Republicans.

The primary registration numbers will not be final until later in the week, as officials accept mail-in forms post-marked by Monday.

Democrats may be benefiting from heavy publicity and interest in the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama race, while John McCain has cornered his party's nomination and made Pennsylvania's Republican primary almost meaningless. However they did it, VanSickle says Democrats have set an all-time record for their party.

"It is a high, the best we can tell," VanSickle said. According to him, Pennsylvania Democrats in past weeks have netted up to 22 times as many party changers as Republicans.

As for April 22, VanSickle expects high numbers at the polls, especially for Democrats.

"With the activity that we've seen," he said, "I do think we're going to see a really good turnout."

–CNN Radio Correspondent Lisa Desjardins

Filed under: Pennsylvania
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Evan

    Ok Obama and Hillary people – can we just agree before you start fighting that THIS is a good thing?

    No matter who wins, we need to come together at some point if any of us want to avoid Bush Part III. I saw these registration drives first hand, and this is a GREAT thing.

    March 25, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Independent

    Yes We Can!!
    Obama '08

    March 25, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Greg, Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania is filled with idiots! The biggest idiot is Governor Rendell.

    March 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Dylan California

    Thanks to the help of Obama volunteers, hundreds of thousands of new voters and previously registered Republicans and Independents in Pennsylvania are now registered Democrats ready to vote for change!


    March 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. maya

    This is good for Dems. But we need to get past this nomination swamp first.

    For instance- I'm getting really sick of the Obama camp's nit-picking. Obama has no experience of his own- so he goes through Hillary's extensive records and nit-picks. Literally.

    Obama- show us YOUR records, diaries over your career. Show us your OWN experience and achievements- including instances of "poor choices" in your so called youth.

    We need a solid experienced electable candidate to beat the GOP. Hillary is the best choice.

    March 25, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Exodus

    Hillary will win by a 15-20% margin.

    GO HILLARY !!!!

    March 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. B. Turrantine , PA

    . . .Clinton, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton . . .same old tired politics. . . .
    scandal . . . .war . . .bad economics . . . .NAFTA . . . . .free yourselves . . . .change. . . .
    Yes we can.

    Obama 08.

    March 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. C. Gatlin

    . . . . .Vote for CHANGE, Pennsylvnia. No more Clintons or Bushes. There are more
    that two names in the world. VOTE FOR CHANGE.
    OBAMA 08.

    March 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. fred

    Go Hillary!!!

    March 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Greg

    Yes, it is all the republicans switching to vote in the democratic primary so that they can decide who are parties nomination should be... all those "newly registered demoncrats" will certainly not vote demoncrat in november... party officials are stupids and should have seen this coming... the republicans will choose the weaker of the to (obama) ... jsut wait and see

    March 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Slap Stick, Florida

    Now this is news. Obama vacationing come on CNN get real. Everyone vacations, except for the folks @ Faux News. Maybe that is why they are all soooooooooooo bitter and for a moment there CNN had started to look a lot like Faux News had brought them out!!! Keep it real and fair CNN but not NASTY!!!

    March 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Jeff Radun

    It would be great if Pennsylvania went to Hillary 75-25 = 3 mil to 1mil
    She might not get alot more deligates but the popular vote would change towards her

    March 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. B. Smart

    . . .That always means CHANGE!.

    Yes We Can.
    Obama 08.

    March 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Mike

    Hillary 08 for the big win!

    March 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. bill from pa

    What is not in this report is that republicans are changing to vote in the primary but will not vote for a dem in the general. I'm an indie that changed to dem to vote Obama. If Obama is not in the general I'll be voting McCain. I'll also be changing my registration back to non partisan April 23.

    March 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Belle

    Of course, Obama will take ALL of the credit...after all, according to Obama fans, Hillary Clinton does not attract anyone.

    March 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Desert Rat

    It is heartening to see that Republians are registering as Democrats to be able to vote in the primary. This is a wise move on their part.
    Americans need a wise choice in November. Hillary or McCain. No Obama. If he even gets a chance to be the Candidate, we run the risk that idiots will vote him in as the next president and that spells disaster for our country. Keep Obama Out. America Wake Up.

    March 25, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Realistic

    It is Obama that is turning out new voters. Hillary hasn't attracted a candidate under 30 since 1992. But she apparently will try to make the Pennsylvannia elections a giant Geezerpalouza.

    March 25, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Moshe

    Hillary 2008!

    March 25, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. W.D.Russell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Thanks to the Obama, Clinton campaigns, there are many new voters who are young, or poor, or minority.
    This will make a lot of work for the GOP to disenfranchise as many legal voters as they can.

    March 25, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Really

    Surprise I wonder who they will all vote for. it seems Hillary has it locked up or does she??????

    March 25, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Eric-Blakelsee, PA

    Absentee voter in Iowa for Hillary in PA!

    March 25, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. seah

    A vote against Obama is a Vote for America

    March 25, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. CB

    Clinton senior adviser Harold Ickes said, "No delegate is required by party rule to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged." Is that why Clinton surrogates are insulting those who don't side with them by calling them "Judas" and leaving them feeling very uncomfortable because they prefer another candidate? Plans A and B must have failed Team Clinton. Stop lying and hiding the facts about you on the issues Hillary! You intend to bring about the destruction of the party just because you can't win! Tell the good people of Pennsylvania your real motive for lying about NAFTA, Bosnia and your continuance in the race.

    March 25, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Paul

    Rush Limbaugh was just bragging again yesterday that Republicans are purposely going to vote for Hillary to keep "Operation Chaos" going. Not because they actually want Hillary to win, but because they are enjoying see Hillary destroy the Democratic Party. They also did this in Texas and Mississippi.

    Congratulations Hillary, the Republicans and Rush have awarded you extra delegates. Why don't you use that argument to persuade those Superdelegates to fight for you?

    March 25, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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