PHOENIX — Primary ballots are now in the hands of most Arizonans that are registered as Republicans or Democrats, but only about 12% of the fastest-growing group of voters, those not registered with either party, have chosen to participate in the August primary so far.
The 2018 election was very good for Democrats. The 2020 election was a mixed bag for both parties with Democrats winning the presidency and Senate but Republicans winning nearly everything else. This year, voter registration trends appear positive for Republicans. The fastest-growing group of voters, however, are those not registered with either political party.
According to updated figures given to ABC15 by the Arizona Secretary of State, Republicans are the largest party in Arizona with over 1.4 million registrants. The next largest are those not registered with either party at just under 1.4 million. Just under 1 point separates the two blocs. Arizona Democrats make up a little less than 1.3 million registered voters which puts them in third with just over a 30% share of the total.
The growth in unaffiliated voters is happening mainly in Arizona’s two urban counties. Two decades ago, there were fewer than 200,000 registered Independents. Registration numbers by county released by the Secretary of State in April show that they make up the largest bloc of registered voters collectively in Maricopa and Pima counties.
In the Valley of the Sun the registration advantage of unaffiliated voters is small. The difference between them and Republicans, the next largest block, is fewer than 10,000.
Independent, unaffiliated registration growth has been substantial in rural counties as well, but the growth is offset by a recent surge in rural Republican voters that began in 2016.
As of today, the gap between Republicans and Democrats in the state is at its largest point since August of 2018. There are just under 150,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats.
The split between parties is not important in the August primary since parties do not face each other, but trendlines established now will almost certainly carry over to November.
Unaffiliated voters can vote in August, but they must request a major party ballot, or choose to vote only in non-partisan races. In Maricopa County, most unaffiliated voters are choosing to vote Republican, but the total number is paltry at just over 100,000 with an almost 60/40 split favoring Republicans. That’s enough to sway a very close race, but most likely, loyal Republicans and Democrats will be choosing the nominees that will be on November’s ballot.
Watch which party had the largest number of Arizona voters through the years? Track party data in the module above.