2013 Led to Record Increase in Independents
Based on a new Gallup poll, it’s become clear that more and more Americans are backing away from self-identifying as Republican, and leaning more towards the Independent category. The poll showed that 42 percent of those Americans polled identified as independents, the highest number ever seen by Gallup in the over twenty-five years of asking the question.
On top of that, Republicans only reported in at 25 percent, the lowest ever, and Democrats remained at 31 percent, the same as in 2012, 2011, and 2010. According to the poll, the increase in independents is drawing members away from the Republican crowd. In 2004, Republicans reported in at 34 percent, the highest membership ever, but upon George W. Bush leaving office Republicans only came in at 28 percent.
The highest it reached since that time was 29 percent in 2010, and this years shows a marked decrease. It could be speculated that the increase in independents has to do with the shutdown, which hurt Republicans heavily in the polls at the time. The increase in independents in 2013 came during the fourth-quarter, during the shutdown and Obamacare debacle.
Gallup started polling on the topic of party identification just over twenty-five years ago, and in that time Democrats have shown a lead in identification in every year but three. However, when the those who identified as independents were pushed to make a choice, a total of 32 percent admitted to party leanings.
Of the 32 percent, 16 percent sympathized more with Republicans, and 16 percent sympathized with Democrats, putting the Republicans at 41 percent and Democrats at 47 percent. According to Gallup, the increase in independents could also be a result of frustrations from the American public with both political parties, which have been growing over the years. Only 39 percent of Americans polled in as having a good image of the GOP, and only 46 percent of those Americans polled said the same of Democrats — according to a separate poll.