Registration shift in IA: More Republicans than Dems

For the first time in 6 years, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats - a sign that the GOP may be reversing a slow slide over the past decade of Iowa becoming more Democratic.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

Statewide, Republicans now outnumber Democrats, having 608,096 registered voters in Iowa at the end of April versus 599,225. However, independent voters beat them both, coming in at 669,966.

When monthly voter registration numbers came out in April, Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker took to Twitter to declare, "Iowa Turns Red!"

The shift has the GOP optimistic about the fall elections, but Democrats say they aren't worried.

"I think we have very good numbers. I'm not concerned about that at all," said Pat Sass, chair of the Black Hawk County Democrats.

Her Republican counterpart, however, sees the numbers as an indicator for a strong showing in November.

"I think Obama is pushing people our way," said Mac McDonald, chairman of Republicans of Black Hawk County.

Both parties acknowledge the competitive Republican presidential slate for the Iowa caucuses gave that side a boost in registration numbers. Whether that boost is short lived or whether it makes a difference in the ballot box in November is the question that only time will answer.

The registration totals could make a difference up and down the ballot, whether it comes to Iowa's swing-state importance in the presidential race or control of the state Legislature.

With independents nationwide trending Republican, this is very good news for Mitt Romney and the state GOP. Obama is another smallish state that Obama is counting on that might go Republican in November. If it does, it narrows Obama's path to 270 electoral votes and makes Virginia even more important to Obama's plans.

In fact, it's beginning to look like Virginia will be the key state of the race. If Republicans can deny Obama a win there, his options become exremely limited and gives him no margin for error.

GOP prospects have brightened considerably in Iowa, North Carolina, and New Hampshire in recent months. Also, Nevada and Colorado have tightened somewhat and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan are not lost causes. Six months out from election day, swing states have become more competitive. That's good news for Romney and bad news for Obama.