Ford Fessenden has a great article in the NYT (including a quote from yours truly) on the number of new voters being registered in swing states like Florida and Ohio. Fessenden includes the following data on Ohio:
In rock-ribbed Republican areas - 103 ZIP codes, many of them rural and suburban areas, that voted by two to one or better for George W. Bush in 2000 - 35,000 new voters have registered, a substantial increase over the 28,000 that registered in those areas in the first seven months of 2000. The Ohio Republican party said it was pleased with the results. . . . But in heavily Democratic areas - 60 ZIP codes mostly in the core of big cities like Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus and Youngstown that voted two to one or better against Mr. Bush - new registrations have more than tripled over 2000, to 63,000 from 17,000.
The reall question is whether these new voters will show up to vote. Studies of Motor Voter showed that persons signed up under its provisions were less likely to vote than those who registered the usual way. Also, there was no clear partisan advantage to Motor Voter since Democrats signed up by it were less likely to vote than Republicans.