The percentage of Americans who identified as Democrats dropped to a record while the percentage of Americans who identified as Republicans executed a dead-cat-bounce off its own historic lows in 2015, rebounding a staggering 1%.
According to a Gallup poll released this week, 29% of Americans – the lowest number since 1988 – identify themselves to be Democrats in 2015. From 1941 to 1987, there was never a year when less than 37% identified themselves to be Democrat.
On the other hand, the percentage of Americans who identified as being Republican in 2015 increased to 26% from the low it achieved in 2013 of 25%. Prior to 1988, for several years Gallup polls indicated Republican indentifiers were under 25%.
The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Independent reached 40% in 2011 and has remained at that level or higher for the past four years. In 2015, 42% of Americans identified themselves as Independents.
Perceived intolerance and bigotry resulting in party gridlock, along with dissatisfaction with government ranked among the top concerns when adults were asked to name their more important concerns. The favorability ratings of each party were, as could be expected, at the lower end of poll results of the last few decades.
During a presidential election year, the percentage of independents usually declines as voters choose their president. Therefore, both parties may have the opportunity to reclaim lost support in the upcoming year.
Conversely, the lack of a strong identification or attachment to a particular party may make candidate specific factors more important than party loyalty. This could open the door to that candidate with a mixed background most highly skilled at speaking obscurely, yet deft at hitting emotional hot buttons.
This poll was based on telephone interviews throughout 2015, with a random sample of 12137 adults living in 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is + 1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.
Poll results available here.
H/T: Peter Johns