And this is a problem. While getting the occasional Trump supporter to change his mind would be a good thing–their votes ‘count double’ (Trump loses a vote; Clinton gains one)–I would argue that there are two major groups that have been neglected. The first are ‘demoralized Dems‘, which includes registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic. They often feel betrayed by the Democratic Party but will almost never vote for a Republican, certainly not Il Trumpe. On economic issues, they are typically left-leaning and working-class oriented. It’s worth noting that 25 percent of Obama’s votes in 2012 came from white working class voters (other estimates claim 34 percent). Not 25 percent of the white working class voted for him, but one in four Obama votes were cast by a member of the white working class.
But there’s a second group, one that dwarfs any other demographic: unregistered voters. Sean McElwee explains (boldface mine):
To explore the attitudes of the unregistered I used both the 2012 and 2014 CCES and data from the Economist/YouGov tracking polls. First, unregistered Americans are as likely as registered Americans to support Democrats, but dramatically less likely to support the Republican Party. Unregistered Americans are more likely to identify as Independent than registered Americans…
I also examined a question that asks respondents how they would prefer to reduce the deficit: defense spending cuts, domestic spending cuts or tax increases. Unregistered Americans were more supportive of defense spending cuts and more opposed to domestic cuts. They were also less supportive of increasing taxes.
Using the Economist/YouGov poll, I examined net support (the percent in support minus the percent opposed) for four proposals that have been discussed frequently in the 2016 election cycle: a $15 minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, free college tuition and a border fence. As the chart below shows, unregistered Americans were more supportive of the progressive options.
Charts? We got charts:
Their lack of registration doesn’t appear to be about cynicism either:
…unregistered Americans were less likely to endorse cynical views, such as believing that special interests get what they want due to political contributions and that “a lot” of government money is wasted. This suggests that being unregistered is less an explicit condemnation of the political system and more often due to other factors, such as a recent move, relative youthfulness or lack of political interest. These gaps matter, because research suggests that the preferences of voters are better represented by policymakers than the preferences of nonvoters.
If the Democrats weren’t the Dumbest Political Party In Recorded History™, they would realize that registering voters is a constant job, not just one you do several months before an election. Were Democrats to get these aligned unregistered voters to the polls, Republicans would be annihilated.
Unfortunately, you deal with the Democratic Party you have, not the one you wish you had…