Is Americans Elect a political party? Despite its protests to the contrary, the answer is a hearty Yes Indeed. The latest proof of Americans Elect’s status as a political party comes from the state of Arizona, where the Secretary of State has released counts of registered Americans Elect political party members in Arizona counties, U.S. congressional districts, and state legislative districts. This is the first opportunity for Americans Elect political party members to be characterized using publicly available data. Because the state legislative districts offer the greatest geographic detail, let’s look at those.
Of the 30 state legislative districts:
3 have no Americans Elect party members
5 have 1 Americans Elect party member
5 have 2 Americans Elect party members
3 have 3 Americans Elect party members
3 have 4 Americans Elect party members
4 have 5 Americans Elect party members
6 have 6 Americans Elect party members
1 has 9 Americans Elect party members
1 has 10 Americans Elect party members
There are 111 Americans Elect political party members across the entire state of Arizona, and no one district has a large number of Americans Elect party members. But there is variation from district to district in the number of AE party members. Where is the party stronger and where weaker?
The following two charts show bivariate and multivariate best-fit regression lines, displaying the trend in Americans Elect membership across Arizona state legislative districts.
There are two members of the Arizona House and one member of the Arizona Senate elected in each state legislative district. In a statistically significant relationship, it turns out that the more Republicans elected from a district, the more members of the Americans Elect party are registered in the district. All Arizona legislature members are either Republicans or Democrats, so the converse of this effect holds: in districts where there are more Democrats elected to the legislature, there are fewer Americans Elect party members.
Consistently across districts in Arizona, there are actually more voters registered Independent than registered Republican or registered Democrat — this lets us assess whether Americans Elect is drawing support from particularly Independent areas or particularly Republican areas. The second graph you see above shows the trendline for the effect of % of voters registered Republican in a district. The % of voters registered Independent was also assessed in this regression, but the result was not statistically significant — that is, the impact of % Independent on Americans Elect party membership is not appreciably different from zero. The effect of % registered Republicans in a district on the number of Americans Elect party members in that district is statistically significant and positive. The more Republicans in a district, the more Americans Elect party members there are.
Because of (commendable) privacy laws, we can’t know whether the individual people who have signed up to be Americans Elect Party members in the state of Arizona are former Republicans, former Democrats or former Independents. But we do know, through two measures, that Americans Elect Party members come disproportionately from Republican districts.
As the year progresses, as Americans Elect registers as a political party in more states, and as reporting deadlines continue to come at us, we can expect to see more information about the context of Americans Elect party registration. Given Americans Elect’s refusal to disclose what it’s doing at the national level, I look forward to whatever state-level data the public can get its hands on.