Voters in the traditionally Democratic state of West Virginia are moving away from the Democratic Party to become Independents says an article by Mike Myer in the Intelligencer:
Thirty years ago, just 2.1 percent of voters in West Virginia listed themselves as having “no party affiliation.” Today, we call them independents, and they are 16.1 percent of registered voters.
Where did the increase come from? The Democrat Party, almost exclusively.
In 1980, 30.5 percent of Mountain State voters were registered as Republicans. Today, 28.8 percent vote under the GOP label. That’s not much change.
But in 1980, 67.3 percent of voters were registered Democrats. Now the percentage is 53.4 – a decline of almost precisely the same number of percentage points gained by independents.
What does the shift mean? That the Democrat Party, which has enjoyed a stranglehold on the West Virginia Statehouse since 1932, is losing power.
The upswing in independent voters, along with symptoms such as the Tea Party movement, indicate a distrust of the status quo. That happens to be Democrats, at both the state and national levels.
The article goes on to suggest that attacks on the coal industry by environmentalists and Democratic politicians (Obama too) are responsible for the shift.