Patt Morrison for April 5, 2010

California’s fastest rising stars, “decline to state” voters hold the key to elections

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

"Decline to state" voters may hold the key to elections

They are the true independents, the ideal of California’s cowboy voters, the picture of nonpartisan alignment and unpredictability—“decline to state” voters, those people who are unaffiliated with any political party, now make up 20% of California’s electorate and according to a new L.A. Times/USC poll, they are the fastest growing segment of voters. The poll finds that these voters occupy the middle ground that you’d expect, socially moderate and fiscally conservative, and their demographics reflect California’s future: decline to state voters are whiter than the Democratic Party and more Latino than the Republicans, and more Asian than either party. The true wild cards in California politics, what drives someone to register as “decline to state” and how will their influence grow in future elections?


Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies

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