Party registration by town 2008


As of fall 2008, the last time that the secretary of state’s office released town-level data, independent voters (technically, “unenrolled” voters), made up a slight majority of the Bay State electorate: 51 percent, versus 37 percent for Democrats and 12 percent for Republicans. The map above shows the level of Democratic registration by city and town, which tends to be the best predictor of how communities will vote in general elections. (Republican registration is too low to be much use here; when the GOP wins, most of its votes come from the unenrolled contingent.)

Democratic registration is highest in Cambridge and Fall River; both are densely populated cities, but Cambridge is one of the most-educated communities in the state, while Fall River has one of the lowest percentages of college graduates. Non-Democrats (i.e., Republican and unenrolled voters) are most prevalent in middle-income communities in the middle of the state and in the outer reaches of the North and South shores.

New data will be released in advance of this fall’s state elections. Will Republican Scott Brown’s upset victory in January’s US Senate election foreshadow a rise in Republican registration after decades of decline, or will we see the unenrolled reach new heights?

For town-by-town data in an Excel spreadsheet, click here.

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