October 17, 2021

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Over 30,000 Republican Voters Change Party Affiliation After Pro-Trump Capitol Riot – Newsweek

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More than 30,00 Republican voters reportedly quit the GOP in the weeks following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Tens of thousands of voters have become former Republicans this month in states including Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, Maryland, Colorado and Florida, according to a Wednesday report from The Hill, citing state statistics. A far smaller number of voters dropped affiliation with the Democratic party during the same time.

In Pennsylvania, almost 10,000 Republicans had parted ways with the GOP by January 25. Of those, 3,476 changed their registration to the Democratic Party, while the rest moved to a third party or remained unaffiliated. The state saw 2,093 Democrats switch to the Republican Party during the same period, while 1,184 become unaffiliated or switched to a third party.

A similar shift away from the GOP was observed in the other states. The report states that two counties in the Miami, Florida area saw 1,000 Republican voters drop the party in the two days following the attack, while only 96 Democrats ditched their party. In three other Florida counties, more than 2,000 Republicans left the party, more than six times the number who left the Democratic party.

Republicans Leaving GOP Following Trump Capitol Riots
Supporters of former President Donald Trump display altered versions of American flags outside the U.S. Capitol shortly before a violent mob stormed the building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021.
Brent Stirton/Getty

Close to 6,000 voters left the GOP in North Carolina, while almost 5,000 in Arizona and over 4,500 in Colorado also dropped their Republican registration in the past few weeks. Maryland reportedly saw 2,300 Republicans become Democrats or go unaffiliated during the same time period.

The number who switched parties could be far higher nationally since only a small number of states report the statistics on a weekly basis, with some issuing monthly reports and others not supplying the data at all. Changing parties is a relatively common activity but the recent surge of voters leaving the Republican Party is unusual because switches usually happen prior to an election.

Many Republicans have strongly denounced the deadly Capitol breach, which happened after former President Donald Trump pushed false claims that President Joe Biden had “stolen” the presidential election. House Democrats were joined by 10 Republicans who voted to make Trump the first president to ever be impeached twice due to his alleged incitement of the rioters.

Despite widespread condemnation of violence at the Capitol, there is no indication that a majority of Republicans have made any moves to leave or distance themselves from the party. Many had also supported at least some of Trump’s false claims about election fraud, and following the insurrection, only a small fraction said that they no longer support the former president.

A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday found that 50 percent of Republicans believe that Trump should continue to play a “major” role in the GOP, while another 30 percent said that they would be willing to leave the party if Trump were to form his own “Patriot Party” as an alternative.

The number of Republican voters who left in the weeks after the insurrection represent a very small portion of the party’s base, but even a tiny shift in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona could spell trouble for the GOP given the razor-thin margins that have decided recent elections in battleground states.

Newsweek reached out to the Republican National Committee for comment.

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