BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The voter base in Kern County is growing, and with it, less voters identify as Republican and more are choosing not to have a party preference.
California voter data in 2016 from the Secretary of State's Office shows a four percent drop in GOP support in Kern County when compared to 2012. In 2012, 43 percent of the county's nearly 318,000 registered voters identified as Republican, compared to 39 percent of the county's 327,000 registered voters in 2016. Statewide, GOP support declined by nearly three percent in that same time period.
Meanwhile, support for Democrats in Kern County and across the state stayed relatively the same. In 2012, 35% of Kern County's registered voters identified as Democatic, compared to 36% in 2016. Across California, Democratic support grew by half a percent.
The biggest growth in Kern County was among those who have no party preference, rising from 18 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2016 -- a total of more than 11,000 people. Statewide, that group grew by nearly three percent.