A rather amazing shift in Pennsylvania voter registration has taken place over the last 10 years (h/t WaPo) according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State:
The Pennsylvania Secretary of State records party registration information about the state's voters [...] Between 1998 and 2008, Democratic registration jumped by 860,552 but Republicans just 96,895; others went up 336,061 over that period.
Note that 8 of those 10 years saw George W. Bush in the White House -- and the first 8 years had a Republican-led Congress.
Update: Interesting take on the shift at WSJ:
"This state is in major transition," said Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa. "The moderate base of the Republican Party is defecting, and that has put them in a precarious position in the state."
Across the state, counties that have voted Republican since the Civil War have gone Democrat, while the T-shaped conservative region in the state's rural midsection and north has been aging and losing population. Meanwhile, there has been an influx of people into the more liberal Philadelphia region. Others moving into the northeast part of the state, especially from New Jersey, also tend to vote Democrat.
Since 2004, 200,000 of the state's Republican voters have switched their party affiliation and become Democrats. In 2006, conservative Republican Rick Santorum, who argued that the theory of intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution and whose statements about homosexuality were viewed as intolerant by some voters, was soundly defeated in his bid for a third term by Sen. Casey.
Sen. Specter said his move to the Democratic side came after he assessed his chances for winning re-election in Pennsylvania, following his key vote in favor of President Barack Obama's stimulus package, which angered Republicans and prompted Republican Pat Toomey to declare that he would run in the Senate primary. In 2004, Mr. Toomey, who supports lower taxes and limited government, narrowly lost to Sen. Specter in the party primary.
"I have traveled the state," Sen. Specter said, "and have found that the prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak."[...]
One survey last fall of Pennsylvania voters who had switched party affiliation from Republican to Democratic found that two-thirds said the Bush administration's policies were a significant factor in their decision, according to Chris Borick, a political scientist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.
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