In a poll released by Gallup on Wednesday, 47 percent of American voters now identify themselves as Democrats or claim they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party while 42 percent identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party. This is a major change from 2010 and 2011 when the two parties were basically tied.
The poll’s results area from a vast array of interviews involving some 20,000 people conducted throughout 2012 by Gallup, the nation’s most prominent pollster, and USA Today.
Such aggregated poll measurements have been conducted by Gallup since 1991. While Democrats have a 5 percent edge in the past year during the most recent presidential election cycle, the party has lost considerably when compared to four years again during the previous presidential election cycle. In 2008, the Democratic lead was 12 points.
More specifically, in 2012, 31 percent of Americans say they are Democrats with an additional 16 percent of independents say they lean Democratic while 28 percent of Americans claim they are Republicans as 14 percent of independents saying they lean Republican. Without the independents influence, the parties differences are only three percent.
According to Gallup, the percentage of American voters labeling themselves as independent, rather than clinging to either major political party, is at a record high.
The Republicans only held a commanding lead once, in 1991, during President George H.W. Bush’s single term which was during the Persian Gulf War. Through the past two decades the two parties – Democratic and Republican – were tied in 1994 and 1995, 2001-to-2003, and 2010 and 2011. As one can see, when there is a leading party, it is the party that holds the White House. Of interest is the how strong the strongest party’s lead is over the other.