On March 27, I wrote on the potential for “crossover voters” (people who usually affiliate with one party who vote in the primary of another party) to influence the outcome of the new 9th Congressional District Republican primary. With most early voting done, we can assess what impact, if any, crossover voting will have on the outcome of that primary.
To find the number of crossover voters I cross-referenced those who voted early in the 9th District Democratic primary in 2018 with those who have so far voted early in the 9th District Republican primary in 2019. This will give an under count of crossover among early voters since there is one more day of early voting to go and some people who voted on election day in the Democratic primary in 2018 may have voted early in this year’s Republican primary. However, since voters tend to be habitual in their voting habits (using the same voting methods most of the time), that under count is likely small.
Of the nearly 8,000 early (one-stop, and absentee by mail) votes cast so far in the 9th District Republican primary, I found a total of 278 crossover votes. 229 over those were from people who were unaffiliated with either party during both primaries while 49 involved people who had changed their party registration over the past year (26 from Democratic to unaffiliated, 16 from Democratic to Republican, and 7 from unaffiliated to Republican).
So, barring a huge change in voting patterns on election day, we will likely see the total number of crossover votes in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. Furthermore, while most “independents” tend to consistently support one party over the other, at least some of those who switched from voting in the Democratic primary to voting in the Republican primary did so because they are genuinely interested in supporting one of the Republican candidates.
The relative lack of crossover voting decreases the chance that we will see a runoff in the 9th District since there will be few strategic votes for spoiler candidates. That means we should expect few votes for alleged Democratic party plant Chris Anglin. That is good news for state senator Dan Bishop, who is within range of getting the 30 percent minimum required for a winning candidate to avoid a runoff, according to several polls.
Whatever the outcome the 9th District Republican primary, it will be decided by people who usually vote Republican.