A new survey by Gallup shows Democrats regaining their edge in party identification over the GOP. In 2012, 47% of Americans identified as Democrat or lean-Democrat. 42% identified as GOP or lean-GOP. In 2011, the two parties were even, with each claiming 45% of Americans. In 2008, however, Democrats held a 12-point edge in voter identification.
The results shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given the Democrat victories in November. The edge, however, came from Independents leaning more toward the Democrats than the GOP. In 2011, more Independents leaned toward the GOP. 18% of Americans identified as Independent, lean-GOP against 14% who were Independent, lean-Dem. In 2012, those numbers flipped, with 16% of Independents leaning Dem and 14% leaning GOP.
Leaving out Independents, both parties are near historic lows in voter identification. 31% of Americans identified as Democrat in 2012 against 28% who identified as Republican. 40% identify as Independent, underscoring the competitive nature of elections. These fickle voters are basically up for grabs for either party. Last year, these voters had a net 6-point swing to the Democrats. That is how elections are won these days.
The survey is based on an aggregate of Gallup polls in 2012 and is based on 20,000 interviews.