California Seeing More Independent Voters

Over the last decade, California’s political makeup has radically changed. There are far fewer Republicans than ever before, and the number of people refusing to state a party preference has increased by 64 percent. 

Membership in the Republican Party has decreased from 29.8 percent of the state’s voters in 2009 to 21.9 percent in 2019. This translates to a loss of over half a million Republicans. Riverside led the drop with an over 20 percent drop, followed by San Bernardino and Santa Barbara. 

Though Democrats have also lost voters, the decrease has been minimal. From 2009 to 2019, the Democratic Party’s share of voters fell from 45.7 percent to 44.5 percent. The Democrats received a small increase in the percentage of voters in the aforementioned areas, but the real gains were made in the independent voting bloc. In places like San Joaquin and Calexico, the percentage of voters not registered with any political party was in the double digits.

The results of the political shift can especially be seen in the Sacramento region. In the city of Sacramento, Republican registration fell by five percentage points, 20 to 15 percent. Meanwhile, Democrats lost four percentage points, falling from 55 to 51 percent, and no party preference voters gained eight percentage points, increasing from 20 to 28 percent.


Photo by Julian Howard