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NYT: In Southwest, a Shifting Away From Party Ties

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:04 PM
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NYT: In Southwest, a Shifting Away From Party Ties
In Southwest, a Shifting Away From Party Ties
By KIRK JOHNSON
Published: October 24, 2006

....Nowhere has the shift been more pronounced in recent years than in the Southwest, where Republicans have enjoyed an overwhelming advantage since the days of Barry Goldwater. Here in Arizona, people who reject the old major party labels are by far the fastest-growing category of voter, with the number of independents doubling over the last 10 years, to more than one in four.... (I)f the trend toward independent voters continues and there is no sign of faltering experts say it will lead to more competitive races not only on local and statewide levels but also in the presidential election.

As the Nov. 7 elections approach, the whole idea of party is in flux in many parts of the nation as candidates and voters reassess the connotations in baggage or benefit of party association. Some office seekers are omitting their party label on their lawn signs, and some dwell at length on the stump on how much they disagree with their own parties on issues like the environment or stem cell research all to look more unaffiliated in order to lure the independent vote....

***

....here in the Southwest, the shift away from major party affiliation has been pronounced. Of the seven states with the fastest-growing proportion of independent or third-party voters from 2000 to 2004, four are clustered in the Southwest Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico, according to Election Data Services, a nonpartisan consulting company that tracks election information. New Hampshire had the second-fastest growth after Arizona, followed by Florida and Maryland.

And the changes in voter registration have coincided, at least in the West, with a decidedly positive turn for local Democratic candidates in states where Republicans had been dominant, either by history or in number. Four states in the eight-state Rocky Mountain region Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming now have Democratic governors, up from zero in 2000. And in Colorado, Bill Ritter, a Democrat, has led Representative Bob Beauprez, a Republican, in most polls going into next months election for governor....

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Meanwhile, Republicans of Western libertarian bent have chafed as their party has held ever more tightly to the morals-based agenda of its Christian evangelical wing, said Ryan Sager, author of the recently published book The Elephant in the Room, which chronicles the libertarian-evangelical tension....

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/24/us/politics/24indie.h...
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:34 PM
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1. AZ Dems will gain at least one seat in either the House or even
the Senate this year. Yes--I'm calling it right here, right now.

Even Hayworth is rumored to be vulnerable--which goes a LONG way to restoring my faith in sanity politics!
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