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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Record Number Of Americans Identify As Independent

It appears Americans really have had it with the two-party system in Washington. 

While the media might have you think America is more two-sided polarized than ever, they gloss over the fact that independent voters are growing, and they are growing fast. Can anyone blame them?

According to Gallup Polling, a record 43% of Americans consider themselves political independents, with the reluctance of the two party system growing fast:

Since 2008, Americans have been increasingly reluctant to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and now a record 43% claimed political independence in 2014. Given historical trends, 2015 could bring a new record, as the percentage identifying as independents typically increases in the year before a presidential election, averaging a 2.5-point increase in the last six such years.
The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%.
Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year.The latest results are based on aggregated data from 15 separate Gallup telephone polls conducted throughout 2014.
Both sides have seen their base shrink in recent years, which may explain why Congress’ approval rating has stagnated at record lows. However, Democrats have a slight edge over Republicans, with 45% of independent voters saying they vote or lean Democratic, while 42% say they vote or lean Republican.

Gallup Polling

However, don’t get too comfortable, Democrats:
That the three-point Democratic edge was down from six points in 2013, and among Democrats’ smaller advantages the past 25 years. Democrats usually hold an advantage in this combined measure of party affiliation. In fact, the only year Republicans held a notable edge since Gallup began tracking independents’ political leanings was in 1991, the year Republican President George H.W. Bush’s approval ratings soared after the United States’ victory in the Persian Gulf War.
Democrats’ high point came in 2008, in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.
Gallup also notes that “the percentages identifying as Democrats prior to 1988 were so high that it is safe to say the average 30% identifying as Democrats last year is the lowest since at least the 1950s.”

However, Republicans are not in the clear either, as GOP identification is lowest it’s been since 1983.