Major political parties in OR outnumbered by non-affiliated voters, third-party members
Statewide in Oregon, both Republicans and Democrats are outnumbered by nonaffiliated and third-party voters.
The above graph shows the trends in percentage share of total registration numbers since 1950: Republicans are at 26 percent, Democrats are at 35.5 percent, and they've both been trending down for years.
The yellow line is non-affiliated, which has been trending up, and you can see that sharp spike pushing that percentage share over the top at 38.5 percent.
So, what does this mean for the next election?
"Overall, non-affiliated voters tend to vote more like Democrats in Oregon than Republicans," said John Horvick, vice president and political director of nonpartisan DHM Research here in Portland. "It does matter on the issue, though. They tend to be more like Republicans on fiscal issues. So they tend to be more concerned about tax increases, tend to me more concerned about government spending, they tend to be a little more skeptical of government in general. So kinda like Republicans in that respect. But they tend to be more like Democrats on social issues. So they tend to me more liberal on things like same-sex marriage, or abortion, or civil rights issues."
He attributes the spike in non-affiliated voters to Oregon's motor-voter law, which automatically registers people to vote when they go to the DMV, and registers them as non-affiliated unless they change it.
The precise impact of these voters will, of course, depend on turnout.