via American Freedom Party
Secretary of State William Galvin said more than 16,300 Democrats
have shed their party affiliation and become independent voters since
Jan. 1, while nearly 3,500 more shifted to the MassGOP ahead of
tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” presidential primary.
Galvin called both “significant” changes that dwarf similar shifts
ahead of other primary votes, including in 2000, when some Democrats
flocked from the party in order to cast a vote for Sen. John McCain in
the GOP primary.
The primary reason? Galvin said his “guess” is simple: “The Trump
phenomenon,” a reference to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who polls show
enjoying a massive lead over rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others
among Massachusetts Republican voters.
“The tenor of the Republican campaign has been completely different
from what we’ve seen in prior Republican presidential campaigns,” Galvin
said. “You have to look no farther than the viewership for some of the
“The New York Times referred to the campaign as crude; I suppose
that’s fair,” added Galvin, a Democrat. “The fact of the matter is the
tenor has been very different this time. And that has an effect. People
are interested. It’s exciting.”
Galvin said the state could see as many as 700,000 voting in
tomorrow’s Republican primary, a significant number given just 468,000
people are actually registered Republicans. In Massachusetts. unenrolled
— otherwise known as independent — voters can cast a ballot in the
primary of any party.
If the Democratic vote is close to that of 2008 — when 1.2 million
hit the polls — the state could surpass the 1.8 million that voted that
year overall, setting what Galvin said he believes would be a record for
a presidential primary in Massachusetts.
“The question in my mind is the Democratic turnout,” Galvin said.
“The nature of the race is a little different than it was in ’08. … It’s
a fact that Sen. (Bernie) Sanders has a very aggressive campaign here
in Massachusetts. He spent both time and money. He has a good ground
(game) from what I can see, as does Sen. (Hillary) Clinton. So that’s
going to help us. But the chemistry was somewhat different than it was
Galvin noted the historical context in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack
Obama was vying to become the nation’s first black president, and
running against Clinton — seeking, as she is again this year, to become
the first woman to serve as president.
Turnouts have hit record levels in other primary states this year.
Galvin pointed to the shift in voters from the Democratic party as an “indicator” of turnout in the Bay State.
But while significant, it doesn’t necessary signal a change in the
political power structure in Massachusetts, where Democrats have long
dominated with heavy majorities in the legislature and across
The 19,800 who left the Mass Dems represent about 1.3 percent of the
1.49 million enrolled in the party. And though the MassGOP gained
several thousand voters, it actually lost more in the same time frame,
when 5,911 quit the party to be unenrolled.