Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump campaign and RNC have now registered 100,000 new voters in the 2020 cycle, more than doubling their numbers from 2016, according to new Trump Victory data provided exclusively to Axios.

Yes, but: Democrats are still registering new voters in key battleground states.

Between the lines: Trump won Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Iowa in 2016, but former Vice President Joe Biden is currently ahead in the polls in all but Iowa, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The voter registration gap between Democrats and Republicans has narrowed in some of these key states, according to Trump Victory and Axios’ reviews of those states records.

  • But a lot of it has to do with voters switching parties or dropping out of the electorate — not necessarily a surge of new voters registering as Republicans nor indicating new Trump voters, according to Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report.
  • Democrats are still registering more new voters than Republicans in many key states.

By the numbers: The Democratic advantage in Pennsylvania has been lessened by 133,000 voters since 2016, and 87,000 voters in Florida.

  • But among voters who have newly registered since 2016 in Pennsylvania, Democrats have a 15 point advantage, according to an analysis of a national voter file by Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic political data firm TargetSmart. And in Florida, they have a 2 point advantage over Republicans.
  • Democrats' net advantage has also shrunk in the tossup state of North Carolina.
  • Meanwhile in Arizona and Iowa, Trump Victory says they have managed to slow voter registration momentum behind Democrats.
  • In Iowa, the number of registered Democratic voters surpassed Republicans in March, but Republicans recently took back the advantage. Democrats had been outpacing Republicans in Arizona as well — but since April, Republicans have overtaken them.

The big picture: Coronavirus has drastically changed the voter registration game. Activists and volunteers typically focus their efforts on big events, college campuses or other crowded locations. But crowds are rarer in a pandemic.

  • 45% of voter registration applications come from the DMV, but even those have been shut down or offer limited services because of the virus in many states.

What to watch: This comes as President Trump continues to rail against mail-in-voting. Many Republican leaders privately admit that absentee ballots are needed to ensure registered Republican voters actually vote, particularly older, white voters.

What they're saying: “As enthusiasm for President Trump continues to grow, so does the Republican Party. Over 100,000 new voters are ready to cast their ballot for four more years of President Trump’s ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’ agenda, and elect Republicans up and down the ballot on November 3rd,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

The other side: Registered voters have to actually cast a ballot in order to make a difference.

  • “Across the battlegrounds, the Biden-DNC coordinated campaign is crushing Republicans in key field metrics like vote-by-mail requests, registration and turnout -- and we’re going to keep our foot on the gas so we ensure Trump is a one-term president,” David Bergstein, DNC Director of Battleground State Communications told Axios.

Correction: This article has been updated throughout with additional context. An earlier version did not note Democrats' advantage in new voter registrations, and did not note that changes in net registration can happen for multiple reasons.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Sep 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 32,881,747 — Total deaths: 994,821 — Total recoveries: 22,758,171Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 7,079,909 — Total deaths: 204,503 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Durbin on Barrett confirmation: "We can’t stop the outcome"

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Senate Democrats can “slow” the process of confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most," but that they "can’t stop the outcome."

Why it matters: Durbin confirmed that Democrats have "no procedural silver bullet" to stop Senate Republicans from confirming Barrett before the election, especially with only two GOP senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voicing their opposition. Instead, Democrats will likely look to retaliate after the election if they win control of the Senate and White House.