More than 1 million voters in 43 states became Republicans in the last year. That’s according to data from the political firm L2 that was analyzed by the Associated Press.
The biggest switches are happening in big suburban areas around Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. There are also voters flipping in the suburbs around smaller cities like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Des Moines, Iowa.
“It’s more so a rejection of the left than embracing the right,” Colorado resident Ben Smith said when he explained his decision to change parties.
Another Colorado resident, Jessica Kroells, said there was no single moment that made her want to leave the Democratic Party after consistently voting for the party’s candidates up until 2016.
“The party itself is no longer Democrat, it’s progressive socialism,” Kroells said.
Perhaps the most high-profile person of all to start voting Republican is Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“Massive red wave in 2022,” Musk tweeted after he said he voted Republican for the first time ever. That vote went to Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, a Latina who flipped a Democratic congressional seat in south Texas.
“The People who live and work in south Texas have had enough. We want to be heard. And we are tired of being taken for granted and treated like second class citizens,” Rep. Flores said.
Approximately 1.7 million people switched parties in the last year, 1 million joining the GOP and about 630,000 becoming Democrats. Voters switching to the Republican Party marks a reversal from the Trump administration when more Americans became Democrats.
It is possible that some voters are switching due to the ongoing primary season. They could be changing parties to vote for a specific candidate in a closed primary, where rules say state voters must cast a ballot for someone in their same party. In fact, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is asking Wyoming Democrats to do exactly that, due to falling support among Republicans in that state since she became vice chair of the Jan. 6 investigative committee.
The Democratic National Committee had no comment about party flipping. The Republican National Committee and other party leaders take credit for the changes and point to rising crime, inflation, gas price increases, and immigration policy as reasons voters are switching.
“Biden and Democrats are woefully out of touch with the American people, and that’s why voters are flocking to the Republican Party in droves,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told the AP.
To collect the data and publish the numbers, L2 used information from state voting records in addition to statistical modeling.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.