AP survey finds 3.5 million new voters

The Associated Press surveyed voter registration figures throughout the U.S. and found that more than 3.5 million new registrants have been recorded. Here’s a bit more:

Voter excitement, always up before a presidential election, is pushing registration through the roof so far this year — with more than 3.5 million people rushing to join in the historic balloting, according to an Associated Press survey that offers the first national snapshot.

Figures are up for blacks, women and young people. Rural and city. South and North.

Overall, the AP found that nearly one in 65 adult Americans signed up to vote in just the first three months of the year. And in the 21 states that were able to provide comparable data, new registrations have soared about 64 percent from the same three months in the 2004 campaign.

And more details:

The overall figures on new registrations were compiled by the AP in a survey of election officials nationwide. Six states and the District of Columbia were unable to provide statistics, meaning the total number of voters who registered between roughly Jan. 1 and March 31 almost certainly exceeds 3.6 million. One of the six, North Dakota, does not require voters to register.

In the 21 states that were able to provide comparable figures from the first three months of 2004, only Iowa showed a decline. That state held its first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan. 3.

The numbers even seem to be benefiting Democrats in states that generally lean Republican. In Wyoming, where registered Republicans still outnumber Democrats by more than 2-to-1, Democratic registrations in the first three months of the year surpassed those for the GOP. Ditto in West Virginia, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina — all states won by President Bush in 2004. There could be more: Only 10 states had figures on new voter registrations by party.

Four states provided information about the race of registrants in both 2004 and 2008: Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina. And in each, there was a surge in the registration of black voters. In North Carolina, more than 45,000 blacks signed up to vote in the first three months of 2008, compared with just over 11,000 in the first three months of 2004.

There was also a fourfold rise in black voter registrations in Alabama, while Louisiana and Tennessee saw increases of 64 and 17 percent.

Six states collected voter data by gender in 2008 and 2004, and the new-registration rate among women — who have largely backed Clinton — is up 89 percent in those states, compared with 74 percent for men.