The number of Alameda County’s registered Republican residents has declined alongside decreasing numbers statewide, while Alameda County residents registered as having No Party Preference have increased, and Democrats have stayed the same.
As of February 2017, Alameda County registered Republican voters make up 12.07 percent of eligible voters, a decline compared to 15.08 percent in April 2010. Between February 2007-17, California registered Republicans decreased from 34.2 percent to 25.9 percent, while California voters registering under No Party Preference have increased from 18.8 percent in 2007 to 24.5 percent this year, according to a February 2017 registry report.
Jack Citrin, director of the Institute of Governmental Studies and campus political science professor, said the shifts could be occurring for a variety of reasons including demographic changes. He added that the number of registered Republicans in the state has been declining for a number of years, and current numbers are “not surprising.”
Cal Berkeley Democrats Vice President of Membership Caiden Nason also said in an email that demographics in California cause these shifts.
“With California becoming a minority-majority state, parties that consistently propose legislation that harms that group are going to become irrelevant,” Nason said in an email.
Berkeley College Republicans President Jose Diaz said the national stage is affecting state politics, especially how Californians view Republicans. He said on a national level there are tendencies for individuals to see what is happening in Congress and stereotype Republicans in California.
“I would challenge people to go beneath the surface,” Diaz said, adding that there is a wide variation of Republican platforms.
Citrin said he hasn’t seen any evidence that connects the most recent report to President Donald Trump, but his unpopularity might have contributed to the decrease.
Diaz also said many Republicans with political ambitions are leaving the state for opportunities elsewhere.
Alameda County was among the 10 California counties with the highest percentage of registered as No Party Preference at 26 percent of its voters.
Citrin said the increase in individuals who registered as having No Party Preference is in part due to young people that are reluctant to choose a party right away and immigrants that have just recently become American citizens and therefore do not have a lot of experience with either party.
Citrin said the shifts do not make much of a difference for the nation because California is now “written off” as a Democratic state.
He added, however, that the vulnerability lies in whether or not Republicans can hold on to congressional seats that they presently have.
Berkeley Political Review Editor-in-Chief Nitisha Baronia said the shifts can partly be explained by a disillusionment with politics both in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and added the shifts should not be seen as a “gift” to Democrats.
“Both parties should see these trends as alarming,” Baronia said.