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Without Obama-McCain money, voter registration sags in 'flyover' states

October 22, 2008 | 10:18 pm

Voter registration has soared in swing states this year, as you may have noticed from all the media attention to same. It's hardly surprising, though, since that's where the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden campaigns are fighting each other the hardest.

But voter registration has sagged or stagnated in many states not considered competitive, according to a new study.

The report, released Wednesday by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, found that while registration has increased in nearly all of the crucial staVote button with Top of the Ticket blog item on declining voter registration in many statestes targeted by the campaigns, it has not increased in nearly half the uncontested states.

The campaigns usually don't give those "flyover" states nearly as many resources to register voters as they do swing states. And that's now showing.

In South Dakota (which has voted for a Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1964), the number of registered voters has dropped 5% since 2004, the study found.

In New York, which will almost certainly go Democratic blue, registration numbers slipped 2% over the last two years.

On the flip side, 14 of the 15 most-contested  states have expanded voter registration since 2004. Nevada, a swing state where Barack Obama's campaign has pushed especially hard to register voters, has seen the biggest surge. Nearly 30% more voters are registered there than at this time in 2004.

Significantly, the study also found that more Democrats than Republicans registered in targeted states.

-- Kate Linthicum

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