It wasn’t enough to put Mitt Romney in the White House, but new figures confirm a higher percentage of Allegheny County Republicans than Democrats voted in November’s presidential election.
While the heavy Democratic registration advantage still handed the county to President Barack Obama, Republicans saw a greater percentage turnout, hitting 72 percent, or about 181,000 votes.
Democrats, while casting about 376,000 total votes, saw 68 percent of eligible voters head to the polls, according to records released by the county elections office.
“Republican voters did turn out, and we were pleased with our result,” Allegheny County GOP chairman Jim Roddey said. “Unfortunately, that same outcome was not consistent across the state.”
More Republicans voted in 2012 than in the 2008 matchup between Mr. Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an increase of almost 14,000 ballots. Conversely, Democratic participation declined by nearly 9,000 votes from 2008.
Overall, 627,104 residents cast votes, a turnout of 67.8 percent. Once you remove voters who haven’t checked in with the registration office for years and may have moved away or died, the turnout jumps to 71 percent. Because of scanning errors, about 1 percent of voters will not get credit for their vote in their registration records, although their vote was properly counted in the election.
The county saw the usual splits among age groups, with voters between 60 and 70 years old having the highest turnout rate at above 80 percent. Residents aged 24-30 had the lowest rate, just above 53 percent — lower than even the college set.
Also intriguing was the balance of power in who stayed away from the polls. About 67,000 Democrats who cast a ballot in 2008 didn’t vote in 2012. By comparison, 63,000 Democrats voted in 2012 after taking a break in 2008, leaving the Dems about 3,600 votes lighter overall.
But Republicans aren’t celebrating. All the turnout they could muster couldn’t stop a Democratic sweep in statewide row offices.
“We had hoped to win at least two of those, and we had hoped to win the presidency,” Mr. Roddey said. “We lost the presidential election by not a huge margin, but certainly a significant margin.”
He said the county organization attracted a large number of volunteers this election cycle and hopes to keep that momentum. Noting that Allegheny County has the most registered Republicans of any county in the state, he mused that perhaps it someday will go red on the electoral map.
“We certainly could if we would allow Pittsburgh to secede,” he quipped.