Election 2018

Who are Pennsylvania's voters?

October 29, 2018
Text and data analysis Chris Huffaker
Graphics by Chance Brinkman-Sull & James Hilston
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

They are mostly registered Democrats -- though Donald Trump won the state by more than 44,000 votes in 2016. They're getting younger, with voters ages 18 to 24 now outpacing those older than 65 for the first time. Because of court-ordered redistricting, more of the state's 18 Congressional districts now lean Democratic than Republican. And in the midst of political turmoil, 135,000 Pennsylvanians switched parties in the past year.

Using final 2018 voter registration data from the Pennsylvania Department of State, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette graphics and data analytics team parsed the data to come up with these insights into the state's voters at this moment, before the Nov. 6 general election.

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Registration by party

Democrats hold Pennsylvania registration edge

Nearly half (48 percent) of registered voters in Pennsylvania are Democrats, while Republicans make up only 38 percent. But the 1.2 million people registered as independent or other could tip the scales toward either party.

Party registration by congressional district

Congressional District-level registration is a more mixed picture

Pennsylvania currently has 10 Republican U.S. House members and six Democratic ones, plus two vacant seats that were held by Republicans. After redistricting ordered by the state Supreme Court, nine of the newly reconfigured districts lean Democratic, and four lean Republican, with the rest being more closely divided. The Democratic registration edge is concentrated heavily in three urban districts: the 2nd and 3rd, in Philadelphia, and the 18th district, in Allegheny County. In each of three congressional elections under the old map, Republicans won the same 13 out of 18 seats.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in Allegheny County

Voter registration by age

The percentage of registered voters under age 35 -- 25.6 percent -- for the first time exceeds that of registered voters age 65 and older, at 24 percent.

Young voters tend to turn out at lower rates for midterm elections.

Party registration by age

Republican registration leans older than Democratic

48% of registered Republicans are 55 and older, versus 43% of registered Democrats.

Democrats by age

Republicans by age

Party registration swaps

Republicans and Democrats even on party switchers

Among registered voters statewide who changed their party registration in 2018, about 50,000 changed to each major party.

Statewide overview

Democrats pick up independents, while most Republican gains have come from Democrats.

Another 28,000 voters abandoned the two major parties.

In Allegheny County, Democrats have gained more from registration swappers

Nearly 7,000 voters became Democrats in 2018, versus nearly 5,000 becoming Republicans.

Voters by gender

Women voters outnumber men

Among registered voters whose gender was recorded, the majority are women.

Democrats lean female, while Republicans are evenly split

More than half of women are registered Democrats. One third are Republicans.

Republicans by gender

Other by gender

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State




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