While party affiliation is down across both parties, the percentage of Americans who identify as Democrats was at a record low in 2015, according to a poll released Monday.
Gallup reports that with a high percentage of Americans identifying as political independents, party affiliation for both Democrats and Republicans are at record- to near-record lows.
In 2015, 29 percent of Americans identified as Democrats — a 27-year low, according to the poll — lower than the poll’s previous record low of 30 percent a year earlier. Gallup notes that although the company shifted from in-person to telephone polling in 1988, from 1951-1987 the outfit never collect a yearly Democratic identification lower than 37 percent.
“[M]aking it safe to conclude that the current 29% is also the low point in Gallup polling history,” Gallup’s analysis explains.
While Democratic identification is at an all time low, it still has an edge over Republican identification, which was 26 percent in 2015 and remains near its record low of 25 percent in 2013.
Meanwhile, for the fifth year in a row, according to Gallup, the number of U.S. adults identifying as independents was above 40 percent, with 42 percent self-identifying as independents. The result was slightly lower than the record 43 percent of Americans who identified as political independents in 2014.
Gallup speculates that the decline in party affiliation and rise of the political independent is due to exasperation with the federal government and the system.
“In the past several years, dissatisfaction with the government has ranked among the leading issues when U.S. adults are asked to name the most important problem facing the U.S., and was the most frequently mentioned problem in 2014 and 2015,” the poll’s analysis reads. “Also, Americans’ favorable ratings of each party are on the lower end of what Gallup has measured over the past few decades.”
When Gallup pressed independents for the party they lean toward the poll found that Democrats still have a slight edge over Republicans — with 45 percent of the population identifying as Democrats or Democratic leaners and 42 percent as Republican or Republican leaners.
The results come from combined data of interviews conducted throughout 2015 among a sample of 12,137 adults. It has a margin of error of +/1 percentage point.