THE RISE OF INDEPENDENTS
An exhaustive analysis of 279 surveys and 450,000 interviews conducted between 1992 and 2014 by the Pew Research Center takes a “deep dive” into long-term voter identity. It’s complicated, but there’s a clear takeaway for both parties to consider.
“The most notable change in recent years has been the rising share of Americans who reject party labels. Based on 2014 data, 39 percent of the public identifies as independents, 32 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling,” the analysis says. “Still, many political independents are, in fact, ‘closet partisans.’ When the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account, 48 percent either identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 39 percent identify as Republicans or lean Republican.”
And among men, it is a tie. When partisan leanings are taken into account, 44 percent of men are Democratic, 43 percent Republican.