Poll: Record percentage of Americans say they’re independents
(CNN) — The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as political independents is at an all-time high and the number who identify as Republicans is at an all-time low, according to new numbers by Gallup.
Forty-two percent of Americans identified themselves as independents last year, the highest level Gallup’s measured since it switched from in-person to telephone interviews a quarter century ago.
Republican identification stood at 25% in 2013, the lowest level over the past 25 years. According to the Gallup numbers, 31% last year identified themselves as Democrats, a level unchanged from the last four years, but matching an all-time low for Democratic party ID.
According to Gallup, the increase in the percentage of Americans who say they’re independents is coming at the expense of Republicans more than Democrats.
“Republican identification peaked at 34% in 2004, the year George W. Bush won a second term in office. Since then, it has fallen nine percentage points, with most of that decline coming during Bush’s troubled second term. When he left office, Republican identification was down to 28%. It has declined or stagnated since then, improving only slightly to 29% in 2010, the year Republicans ‘shellacked’ Democrats in the midterm elections,” says a release by Gallup.
Democratic party identification has also dropped in recent years, down five points from its recent high of 36% in 2008, the year that President Barack Obama was first elected to the White House.
The Gallup poll also indicates the percentage of Americans identifying as independents surged last year, to 46% in the fourth quarter, around the time of the partial federal government shutdown and the extremely flawed rollout of the new health care law.
Gallup says their 2013 results are based on more than 18,000 interviews from 13 separate polls they conducted last year.