Dems hold voter registration edge in 5 key states

In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, a woman votes at a fire station in Jupiter, Fla. on election day.
File,AP Photo/J Pat Carter
File,AP Photo/J Pat Carter

As polls increasingly suggest that voter turnout will be key in determining the outcome of the presidential election, data suggests that Democrats have a lead in five important states when it comes to voter registration.

According to data made available by the states, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania. More Republicans than Democrats are registered in Colorado and New Hampshire, while in Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, voters do not register by party.

Voter registration among Democrats, young people, African-Americans and Latinos has increased significantly since 2008, according to state-available data, which could account for some of the Democratic advantage in those states, as those groups tend to vote more Democratic than Republican.

Bloomberg News, which first reported on this phenomenon, also cites independent voters as a fast-growing demographic in these states. The report shows that the number of independent voters grew by about 764,000 total in six states - Bloomberg does not take Pennsylvania, which CBS News does not consider a toss-up state, into account. 

Overall, even while Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration in several of these states, Bloomberg also points out that registration is up for Republicans by nearly 195,000 for Republicans and down approximately 258,000 for Democrats. But in 2008, enthusiasm ran high for Democratic voters, while a prolonged Republican primary in 2012 is likely to have helped boost GOP registration.

Bloomberg also notes that high numbers of voter registration doesn't necessarily engender strong turnout. Democrats, wary of a drop in turnout among young and minority voters, are fighting hard to combat that tide, but whether or not it will be enough come Election Day remains to be seen.

Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.