Still, ideological labels don’t always predict policy opinions; e.g.,about half of self-described conservatives say that all or some of the Bush tax cuts should be repealed while many liberals support off-shore drilling.
The proportion of voters identifying with the Democratic Party has grown significantly since the 2004 election, and the shift has been particularly dramatic among younger voters.
As shown in a series of charts, the Democratic Party now holds an advantage in several swing states, has increased its advantage in several "blue" states and cut into the GOP's lead in some "red" states since the last presidential campaign.
As the 2008 conventions approach, the Democratic Party’s advantage in party identification remains as large as it has been over the past two decades, and the Democratic Party’s image remains substantially more positive than the GOP’s.
Even with a partisan enthusiasm gap, voter interest is already as high as in November of recent elections, two trends that may significantly alter the composition of the eventual electorate in the Democrats' favor. The proportion of swing voters is also up compared with four years ago. Nearly half of independents (47%) are undecided or may change their minds, up from 28% in June 2004.
While opinion of the Republican Party (39% favorable) remains at a historic low, favorable views of the Democratic Party have risen to 57%. Attitudes toward the Democratic-led Congress, however, remain very negative.
While Barack Obama's appeal to the young coincides with their increasing Democratic alignment, older voters do not show the greater allegiance to the GOP that might explain their relative reluctance to support him.
Trends in the opinions of America's youngest voters are often a barometer of shifting political winds. And that appears to be the case in 2008. Use the interactive tool to track generational differences in party affiliation over time.
The balance of party identification in the U.S. electorate now favors the Democratic Party by a decidedly larger margin than in either of the two previous presidential election cycles including in some key swing states.
Beyond the vote, the exit polls point to interesting differences -- and similarities -- between younger and older Democratic voters.