WASHINGTON POST: The past seven states to hold primaries registered more than 1 million new Democratic voters; Republican numbers mainly ebbed or stagnated. North Carolina and Indiana, which will hold their presidential primaries on May 6, are reporting a swell of new Democrats that triples the surge in registrations before the 2004 primary. The contest between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama has engaged enough new voters to change the political makeup of the country, experts say. The next several months — and the general election in November — will reveal the extent of the shift. Is it a temporary increase in interest resulting from a close election between historic candidates? Or is it a seismic swing in party realignment that foretells the end of the red-blue stalemate? MORE
RELATED: Since Bush took office, the average price of a home in Philadelphia has grown by a factor of four. A South Philadelphia rowhome that sold in 2001 for $75,000 now costs $300,000. Gold has risen from $266 an ounce on Bush’s 2001 inauguration day to open this morning at $892. A barrel of light crude oil cost under $30 in January 2001, and this morning was trading for $118. Gasoline on Jan. 22, 2001, averaged $1.43 per gallon nationwide; last week Mid-Atlantic motorists paid an average $3.48. In contrast, the federally mandated minimum wage has grown from $5.15 to $5.85 during the same period. Minimum wage workers can expect it to jump to $6.55 on July 24.