Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

More Americans Say They Are Political Independents

The number of independents has continued to grow, as both parties have lost ground among the public. Based on surveys conducted this year, 38% describe themselves as independents, up from 32% in 2008 and 30% in 2004. Independents today are more numerous that at any point in the last 70 years.

At the same time, the percentage of self-described Democrats has fallen from 36% four years ago to 32% today. Republican identification has remained relatively steady over this period (24% today compared with 25% in 2008). In 1991, however, there were nearly equal percentages of Republicans (31%), Democrats (31%) and independents (33%).

Democrats continue to hold an advantage in leaned part identification. In 2012 surveys, 48% either affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic while 40% either identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. That is little changed from recent years, but in 2008, Democrats held a 15-point lead in leaned party affiliation (51% to 36%). Read More